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THE  Amazons 



Herbert  H.Smith. 



The  Bequest  of 

Colonel  George  Earl  Church 












743  AND  745  Broadway 





Printing  and  Bookbinding  Company, 

205-213  East  12th  Street, 



Senhor  d.  s.  ferreira  penna, 

OF    PARA, 








IN  1870,  when  a  young  student,  I  made  a  trip  to  the  Amazons 
in  the  company  of  my  friend  and  teacher,  Prof.  C.  F,  Hartt. 
The  ghmpse  of  tropical  hfe  which  I  then  obtained,  acted  as  a 
constant  attraction  to  draw  me  back  to  these  glorious  forests  and 
riv^ers.  In  1874  I  returned  to  Brazil,  with  the  design  of  collect- 
ing and  studying  the  Amazonian  animals.  After  two  years,  spent 
in  the  vicinity  of  Santarem,  I  was  requested  by  Prof.  Hartt,  then 
in  charge  of  the  Brazilian  Geological  Commission,  to  make  some 
explorations  on  the  northern  tributaries  of  the  Amazons  and  on 
the  Tapajos.  These  explorations  occupied,  altogether,  more  than 
a  year.  On  their  completion  I  went  to  Rio  de  Janeiro,  spending 
four  months  there  before  returning  to  the  United  States. 

It  was  then  that  I  began  to  dream  of  writing  a  book  on  Brazil, 
but  for  a  lono:  time  the  idea  remained  latent.  I  had.  indeed,  a 
large  mass  of  notes,  and  a  collection  of  about  one  hundred  thou- 
sand specimens,  principally  entomological  ;  but  the  notes  were 
thrown  together  at  random,  and  a  large  portion  of  the  collections 
were  still  in  their  packing-boxes.  Heretofore  my  reading  of  books 
on  Brazil  had  been  desultory  and  not  very  extensive.  I  now  began 
to  collect  such  works  as  I  could  obtain,  and  to  compare  the  views 
of  the  various  authors  with  my  own  observations.  This  taught  me 
a  new  difficulty.  I  found  that  most  travellers  either  praised  Brazil 
unduly,  or  condemned  the  country  altogether.     From  my  pleasant 


observations  of  tropical  nature  I  was  inclined  to  side  with  the  farmer 
class,  but  I  felt  that  I  could  not  write  fairly  of  social  and  commer- 
cial life  without  more  careful  study. 

At  this  juncture  the  Messrs.  Scribner  &  Co.  invited  me  to  write 
a  series  of  articles  on  Brazil  for  their  magazine.  Through  their 
liberality  I  was  enabled  to  make  two  more  trips  to  South  America, 
revisiting  Rio  and  the  Amazons,  and  making  special  studies  of  the 
coffee  and  sugar  industries,  of  social  and  commercial  life,  and, 
finally,  of  the  famine  district  in  Ceara.  Mr.  J.  Wells  Champney, 
the  artist,  was  my  companion  on  one  of  these  trips.  To  him  I  am 
indebted,  not  only  for  a  series  of  very  accurate  and  beautiful  draw- 
ings, but  for  many  keen  observations  and  intelligent  criticisms  on 
Brazilian  nature  and  society. 

With  these  added  studies,  I  began  the  present  work.  As  my  per- 
sonal adventures  and  observations  were,  m  themselves,  hardly  worth 
writing  about,  I  have  avoided  a  purely  narrative  form.  I  have, 
rather,  endeavored  to  frame  a  series  of  essays,  with  a  general  loose 
connection,  but  varying  in  tense  and  person  as  the  subjects  seemed 
to  require.  While  generally  confining  my  descriptions  to  the  ground 
that  I  have  personally  been  over,  I  have  tried  to  make  them  typical 
of  the  whole,  so  that  the  book,  though  it  does  not  describe  the 
whole  of  Brazil,  may  yet  present  an  intelligible  picture  of  the  coun- 
try. Naturally,  I  have  dwelt  most  on  the  scenes  that  I  love  best — 
the  wild  streams  and  glorious  green  forests  of  the  Amazons.  When 
I  have  treated  of  the  less  pleasant  social  and  commercial  life,  I  have 
endeavored  to  weigh  my  own  opinions  carefully  with  those  of  other 
persons,  and  to  judge  fairly  from  the  whole  ;  thus,  the  book  may 
appear  contradictory  in  parts,  because  it  does  not  always  praise,  nor 
yet  wholly  condemn,  the  Brazilian  people.  I  believe  that  this  is  a 
difficulty  which  every  author  must  meet,  who  attempts  to  write  the 
truth  about  any  nation. 

The  series  of  six  articles  on  Brazil,  first  published  in  Scribner's 
Magazine,  have  been  embodied  in  the  present  work,   but  with  so 


many  changes  and  additions  as  to  give  them  an  entirely  new  char- 

Among  the  many  kind  friends  who  have  assisted  me  in  my  work, 
I  can  speak  here  only  of  a  few.  ^[y  thanks  are  especially  due  to 
Sr.  D.  S.  Ferreira  Penna,  and  to  His  Excellency,  Dr.  F.  M.  C.  de 
Sa  e  Benevides,  late  President  of  Para  ;  to  Mr.  R.  J.  Rhome,  of 
Taperinha  ;  to  His  Honor,  the  Baron  of  Santarem,  and  to  Sr.  Cae- 
tano  Correa,  of  the  same  place,  as  well  as  to  many  American  colo- 
nists of  the  vicinity  ;  to  Dom  Manuel  Onetti,  of  Monte  Alegre ;  to 
President  Julio,  and  Sr.  Morsing,  of  Fortaleza ;  to  Dr.  Gomes  Per- 
rira,  of  Baturite  ;  to  Mr.  H.  H.  Swift,  and  Dr.  AFamede,  of  Pernam- 
buco  ;  to  Maj.  O.  C.  James,  of  Rio  de  Janeiro  ;  and  to  Sr.  IVIiranda 
Jordao,  of  Bem  Posta.  Among  my  American  coadjutors,  I  must 
mention  the  officers  of  the  American  Geographical  Society. 

Besides  the  illustrations  by  Mr.  Champney,  a  number  of  drawings 
were  made  by  Mr.  Wiegandt,  of  Rio  de  Janeiro  ;  a  few  were  worked 
up  from  photographs,  by  various  artists  ;  three  were  borrowed  from 
Keller.  The  zoological  drawings,  in  Chapter  VH.,  are  by  ]\[r.  J.  C. 

Two  chapters,  which,  in  their  nature,  did  not  admit  of  illustra- 
tions, have  been  placed  at  the  end  of  the  book ;  and  one,  of  a  more 
exclusively  scientific  cast,  has  been  reduced  to  the  form  of  an  ap- 

I  hope  that  this  may  be  but  the  beginning  of  my  studies  on 
South  America.     As  such,  I  ofter  it  to  the  reading  public. 

Brooklyn,  N.  Y.,  Dec.  i,  1879. 




The  Great  River  and  its  History, i 

Para, 34 

The  River-plain, ,         ....       78 

Santarem,    . 117 

American  Farmers  on  the  Amazons, 135 

The  Forest,         .  .........         176 

Zoological  Gleanings, 205 

The  Tapajos,        ..........         226 

The  North  Shore, 257 

The  Curua,  ...........         295 


The  IVIaecuru,  ..........     342 


An  Indian  Village,         .........         370 

Ceara  and  the  Drought,    .........     398 

Down  the  Coast,  ..........         436 

Social  Life  at  Rio,    .         .         .         .  .         .         .         .         .         •     451 

Profit  and  Loss,     ..........         484 

The   Story  of  Coffee, 511 


Myths  and  Folk-lore  of  the  Amazonian  Indians,  .         .         .         541 

The  Tributaries  of  the  Amazons, 588 

Geology  and  Physical  Geography  of  the  Amazons  Valley,    .         .         619 

Index, 6yj 



Table-topped  Hills  of  the  Lower  Amazons, 5 

River-side  Vegetation,          ...........  9 

Flooded  Forest  of  the  Upper  Amazons  (from  Keller) 13 

On  the  Banks — Lower  Amazons, 17 

Indian  Settlement,            ............  26 

The  Fort,  Para,    .............  35 

At  the  Custom-house,      . 38 

The  Assai  Stand,           ............  44 

The  Market  Wharf, 46 

The  Theatre,  Para,       ............  52 

The  Washerwoman,  Para 56 

"  Monkey  Joe's,"          ............  57 

Estrada  de  Sao  Jose,        ............  59 

The  Botanical  Garden,         ...........  63 

Breves  Channel,       .............  81 

The  Rubber-gatherer, 84 

Preparing  Rubber,           ............  85 

At  Breves, 


Victoria  Regia,         ............  96 

The  Pirarucu  Fisher,    ............  98 

Drying  Cacao,         .............  113 

The  Beach  below  Santarem,        ..........  117 

At  the  Window 123 

Scavengers, 128 

Beach  Scenes  at  Santarem,             .         .         ........  130 

Taperinha  Plantation,  from  the  River 152 

The  Cane-mills — Old  and  New, 154 

Picking  Tobacco-leaves,      ...........  156 

Preparing  Tobacco, 157 

The  Plantation  House,  Taperinha, 159 



Lace-maker,     ..............  i6o 

Looking  down  from  the  Cane-field,  Tapermha,          ....,,  i6i 

Fishing  by  Torchlight,     ,         ............  164 

Looking  up  the  Uaiaia  from  Taperinha 168 

Forest  Group,           .............  177 

Sandy  Campos  (Hill-sides), 178 

In  the  Forest, 186 

Inaja  Palms, 199 

Spider  Monkeys, 206 

Young  Pacas 208 

Leaf-insect,  i,           .............  219 

Leaf-insect,  2, 221 

Longicorn  Beetles, 224 

The  Embarkation 227 

Camp  on  the  Tapajos,    ............  229 

Jara  Palm,     ..............  232 

Ascending  the  Rapids, 251 

Cacao-orchard, 260 

Jose's  P'amily,           .............  263 

Thatch-palm  on  the  Campo  at  Terra-preta 275 

Pirarucu  (from  Keller), 285 

Igarape  de  Cujubim,   ............  287 

Village  Scene,  Alenquer, 296 

An  Indian  Kitchen,      ............  299 

An  Indian  Mother, 307 

Highland  Stream,         ............  318 

The  River-shore,  Curua,          ...........  323 

Manuel's  Hut 325 

Looking  over  the  Lowlands  from  Monte  Alegre,           ......  344 

Calabash-tree,       .............  348 

Serra  d'Erere,  from  the  Northeast,         .........  350 

View  on  Lake  Maripa,         ...........  353 

Indian  Shooting  Fish 356 

Camp  Scene  on  the  Maecuru,     ..........  362 

The  Spring,  -374 

Indian  Woman  making  Pottery,          .         .         .         ,         .         .    '     .         .         .  379 

Straining  the  Mandioca, 382 

Roasting  Farinha,        ............  383 

Hammock-weaving,         ............  386 

Indian  Woman  beating  Cotton, 389 

The  Saire,         ..............  394 

Road-side  Scene,  Ceard 404 

A  Jangada  in  the  Breakers  (from  Keller) 406 

Group  of  Refugee  Children  (from  a  photograph) 413 



The  Exodus, 415 

Refugees  Working  on  the  Roads, 429 

The  Reef  at  Pernambuco 439 

Bahia,  from  the  Hill, 448 

Victoria  Harbor, 450 

Tijuca,  from  the  Bay,  ............  452 

Rua  Primeiro  de  Mar^o,          ...........  453 

The  Sugar-loaf,  from  the  West, ..........  456 

The  Organ  Mountains, 458 

Up  the  Bay, 459 

Porters  waiting  for  Work 464 

Plantation  Slaves 469 

In  the  Passeio  Publico, 476 

Beer-Garden,        .............  478 

The  Gavea,       .........         .....  480 

Botafogo  and  the  Corcovado, .  482 

Fruit-seller,      ..............  485 

Poultry-seller,       .............  488 

Charcoal-seller,        .............  489 

A  narrow  Street 494 

Water-carts  in  the  Largo  de  Carioca, 497 

The  Sugar-loaf,  from  the  South 501 

Loading  a  Ship  with  Coffee,  at  Rio 505 

Coffee-plantation  in  Southern  Brazil, 513 

The  Viveiro,    ..............  516 

Picking  Coffee 517 

Coffee-berries  on  the  Tree,      ...........  518 

The  Pulping-machine,         ...........  520 

Steam  Drying-machine,           ...........  521 

Diagram  of  a  Coffee-engenho,    ..........  523 

Coffee-sheller  (old  form), 524 

Picking  over  Coffee, 525 

Cutting  Cane-stalks  for  the  Cattle 527 

The  Uniao  e  Industria  Road,  near  Entre  Rios, 530 

Coffee  Warehouse, 535 

Weighing,     ..............  53^ 

Diagram  I.  (Appendix), 620 

"II.           " 620 

"     III.           " 620 

"IV.           << 621 

"V.            "             ....                  621 

Diagram  illustrating  the  Formation  of  Terraces 632 






ON  the  fly-leaf  of  an  old  copy  of  Schiller  I  find  this 
note  : 

"July  26th,  noon,  long.  47°  30'  W.  G.,  lat.  5°  30'  N. 
Water  slightly  discolored,  assuming  a  greenish  tint ;  current 
from  the  southwest." 

The  charts  indicate  similar  discolored  patches  all  along 
the  coast  of  Guiana,  and  as  far  north  as  lat.  9°  or  10°.  In 
these  patches  the  current  is  from  the  southwest,  south,  or 
southeast.  The  line  of  green  water  runs  parallel  to  the  coast, 
but  two  or  three  hundred  miles  away  from  it.  There  are  no 
shoals  here  ;  bottom  is  beyond  the  reach  of  ordinary  sound- 

Consulting  that  clever  book  of  travels,  Mr.  Bates's  "  Nat- 
uralist on  the  Amazons,"  we  find  noted  on  the  last  page  a 
curious  observation  made  in  these  seas  : 

*'  On  the  6th  of  June,  when  in  7°  55'  N.  lat.  and  52°  30'  W. 
long.,  we  passed  numerous  patches  of  floating  grass  mingled 


with  tree-trunks  and  withered  foHage.  Amongst  these  masses 
I  espied  many  fruits  of  ubussu  palms."  The  ubussii,  or  bussu 
{Manicaria  sacciferd),  is  an  Amazonian  tree,  growing  along 
the  narrow  channels  about  Marajo.  "And  this,"  says  Mr. 
Bates,  "  was  the  last  I  saw  of  the  great  river," 

The  green  tint,  then,  is  caused  by  intermixture  of  fresh 
water,  in  which  are  suspended  particles  of  yellow  clay.  The 
fresh  water  was  gathered  far  westward  on  the  slopes  of  the 
Andes;  the  clay  has  been  washed  from  muddy  banks  over 
the  whole  breadth  of  Brazil. 

Farther  south,  near  the  equator,  and  still  a  hundred  miles 
from  land,  the  sea  is  much  more  strongly  tinged  ;  in  April 
and  May,  indeed,  it  has  nearly  the  clay-yellow  hue  of  the 
Amazons  itself,  and  furious  currents  struggle  with  each  other 
until  the  surface  boils  and  seethes  as  below  a  cataract.  The 
flood  of  turbid  waters,  after  this  first  battle  with  the  ocean, 
gives  way  before  the  yet  stronger  equatorial  current ;  its 
flank  is  turned,  and  it  sweeps  away  northward,  staining  the 
sea  with  the  blood  of  its  defeat,  littering  it  with  debris,  madly 
rushing  into  the  heart  of  the  enemy's  country,  until  its  last 
forces  are  exhausted  and  it  sinks  to  annihilation,  six  hundred 
miles  from  the  field  of  battle. 

Down  on  the  ocean-floor  the  king  is  building  his  monu- 
ment ;  such  an  one  as  you  may  have  seen  of  the  old-time 
rivers — sheets  of  sandstone  and  shale,  stretching  over  hun- 
dreds of  miles,  rising  into  hills  and  mountains,  furrowed  by 
lakes  and  valleys.  We  shall  see  presently  how  he  is  building 
along  the  great  valley  ;  building,  and  tearing  down,  and  re- 
building, with  a  restless  impatience  of  his  own  work.  But  this 
ocean  monument  grows  steadily,  for  the  river-king  wills  that 
his  name  shall  live  ;  through  years  and  centuries  he  has  been 
washing  away  the  continent  and  spreading  it  under  the  sea. 


From  green  water  to  yellow  water,  and  off  through  the 
forests  and  plains  of  the  Amazons  valley.  It  will  be  rough 
life  for  us,  with  rough  pleasures  and  cares  ;  but  there  is  health 
in  it,  and  bright  sunshine  and  green  boughs,  and  a  glimpse  of 
nature-love  there  at  nature's  heart. 

In  the  outset  we  must  survey  our  field  and  see  what  other 
explorers  have  done  here. 

The  Amazons  is  not  the  longest  river  in  the  world  ;  it  is 
even  a  good  thousand  miles  shorter  than  the  geographies 
would  have  it,  for  they  set  it  down  at  four  thousand  miles. 
The  more  probable  estimates  give  two  thousand  seven  hun- 
dred and  forty  miles  from  Lake  Lauricocha  along  the  river- 
curves  to  the  Atlantic  ;  or,  if  the  Ucayali  be  considered  as  the 
source,  the  length  is  rather  more  than  three  thousand  miles. 
In  either  case,  both  the  Mississippi  and  the  Nile  are  longer 
than  the  South  American  river.  But  the  Amazons  is  wider 
and  deeper  than  either  of  them  ;  it  carries  more  water  than 
the  two  together  ;  and  it  has  a  vastly  greater  extent  of  navi- 
gable surface,  what  with  the  side-channels  and  the  mighty 

This  immense  river-system,  that  can  stain  the  sea  for  six 
hundred  miles  from  its  mouth,  is  dependent,  too,  on  great 
causes  ;  and  often  very  remote  ones,  which  we  must  seek  out 
carefully.  First,  the  configuration  of  the  land.  The  north- 
ern part  of  South  America  is  a  plain — a  low  one,  with  gentle 
slopes.  On  the  western  side  this  plain  is  bordered  by  the 
Andes,  snowy  peaks  away  up  in  the  cloud-region.  To  the 
north  the  Andes  sweep  round  through  New  Grenada  and 
Venezuela  ;  to  the  south  there  are  high  table-lands  in  Central 
Brazil.  The  plain  is,  in  fact,  a  great  basin,  shut  in  on  three 
sides,  but  open  toward  the  east.  Here  the  northeast  and 
southeast  trade-winds  blow  in  freely,  as  they  blow  over  the 


tropics  all  round  the  earth.  Hot  winds,  sweeping  over  a 
warm  ocean.  They  take  up  water,  every  hour,  until  they 
are  full  of  it — saturated,  so  that  the  least  puff  of  cold  air 
sends  torrents  of  rain  down  over  the  ocean.  When  they 
reach  the  South  American  coasts  they  are  heavy  with  mois- 
ture, more  than  any  other  winds  in  the  world.  The  sun  is 
the  furnace,  the  Atlantic  is  the  retort,  South  America  is  the 

Cool  land-currents  strike  the  trades  and  condense  their 
moisture.  Already,  near  the  coast,  there  are  daily  rains  ; 
and  then,  far  to  the  westward,  come  freezing  Andean  winds, 
meeting  the  warm  ones  from  the  East,  whirling  about 
with  them,  rising  and  eddying  and  tossing,  and  filling  the 
sky  with  clouds  at  every  pace.  Here  the  rains  are  almost 
constant,  and  the  air,  and  ground,  and  trees,  are  all  soaked 
and  dripping.  On  the  Upper  Amazons,  if  a  gun  is  kept 
loaded  overnight,  it  will  not  go  off  in  the  morning  ;  sugar 
and  salt  deliquesce  so  rapidly  that  it  is  almost  impossible  to 
keep  them  ;  books  and  furniture  and  clothes  drop  to  pieces. 
"  All  our  watches  stopped,"  says  Orton. 

Now  the  winds  strike  cold  mountain-sides,  snowy  peaks, 
and  beds  of  ice.  There  yet  more  of  their  moisture  must  be 
wrung  from  them,  until,  dry  and  cool,  they  pass  on  to  the 
Pacific,  over  a  country  almost  devoid  of  vegetation,  except 
along  the  river-courses. 

They  have  not  always  kept  close  to  the  ground.  On  the 
Lower  Amazons,  and  as  far  up  as  Manaos,  the  prevailing 
winds  are  easterly  ;  after  that  the  trades  form  an  upper  cur- 
rent, and  near  the  plain  there  are  variable  winds,  where  ed- 
dying currents  from  the  mountains  come  in.  But  on  the 
high  Andean  peaks  the  breeze  is  steadily  from  the  east. 

This  great  basin  that  I  have  described  receives  more  rain 


than  any  other  region  in  the  world  of  Hke  extent.  The 
water  is  collected  in  channels — brooks  from  the  Andes, 
and  streams  on  the  dripping  lowlands,  and  rivers  pouring 
toward  the  east ;  finally  the  whole  is  gathered  into  two 
great  troughs,  the  Amazons  and  the  Orinoco — two  river- 
systems  that  are  almost  combined  above,  but  separated  below 
by  the  mountains  of  Guiana,  the  highest  land  in  the  basin. 
These  Guiana  mountains  will  not  compare  with  the  Andes  ; 
but  they  are  quite  high  enough  to  affect  the  rainfall.  If 
report  be  true,  indeed,  some  of  the  peaks  are  nearly  ten 
thousand  feet  above  the  sea- level ;  and  even  near  the  Ama- 
zons there  are  spurs  sixteen  hundred  feet  high — flat-topped 

Table-topped   Hills  of  the   Lower  Amazons. 

hills  of  Almeyrim  and  Velha  Pobre.  To  the  highest  range 
sweeps  our  northeast  trade-wind,  and  the  Guiana  slope  is  all 
moist  and  dripping — a  matted  forest  down  to  the  coast ;  Sir 
Walter  Raleigh,  wandering  there  in  search  of  El  Dorado,  was 
drenched  and  steamed  into  a  proper  respect  for  the  country. 
But  on  the  southern  side  of  the  range  is  precisely  the 
driest  region  along  the  main  Amazons  ;  dry  comparatively, 
that  is,  for  even  there  the  rains  are  heavy  enough  in  the 
winter  ;  but  in  August  and  September  there  are  weeks  to- 
gether without  even  a  shower.  So  here  the  great  forest  is 
interrupted  ;  you  find  it  along  hill-sides  and  about  the  river- 
courses,  but  on  level  ground  you  shall  walk,  or  gallop  if  you 
please,  for  days,  over  open  stony  lands  and  sandy  campos, 


with  a  stunted  growth  of  trees — a  region  altogether  unhke 
the  rest  of  the  valley.  Real  forest  must  have  good,  pouring 
rains  ;  but  here  the  rain  has  all  been  stolen  away  by  the 

On  the  other  side  of  the  Amazons,  if  we  ascend  the 
Tocantins  or  the  Xingu,  we  shall  find  that  the  summer 
climate  grows  drier  as  we  advance,  until  we  reach  the  great 
open  Sertao,  where  dry  and  wet  seasons  are  sharply  divided, 
and  hardly  any  rain  falls  from  June  to  November.  Even  on 
the  Lower  Tocantins  there  is  a  long,  dry  season  :  "  It  did 
not  rain  for  three  months,"  we  read  in  Mr.  Wallace's  book. 
We  shall  study  the  Sertao  and  its  seasons  in  their  proper 
place  ;  it  will  be  enough  now  to  remember  that  wet  and  dry 
seasons  there  depend  on  the  position  of  the  sun.  When 
it  is  south  of  the  line,  the  Sertao  atmosphere  is  warmer 
than  the  trade-wind,  and  the  rains  do  not  fall  ;  when  it  is 
on  the  northern  side,  there  are  ascending  currents  and  heavy 
rains.  But  near  the  equator  this  change  is  hardly  felt,  and  to 
the  westward  the  cooling  winds  come  all  through  the  year 
from  the  Andes. 

It  is  well  for  us  to  note  these  modified  regions — the  lee 
of  the  Guiana  highlands,  and  edges  of  the  Sertao.  But 
they  are  only  little  fragments  of  the  great  plain  ;  for  the  rest 
it  is  rain,  rain,  almost  every  day — often  five  or  six  times  in  a 
day — drizzling,  pouring,  filling  up  the  river-channels,  stain- 
ing the  sea  beyond.  You  must  not  look  for  a  dry  season  on 
the  Upper  Amazons  or  at  Para  ;  the  so-called  dry  and  wet 
seasons  are  only  marked  by  lighter  or  heavier  showers.  *'  It 
rains  every  day,  or  it  rains  all  the  while,"  says  a  voyaging 
friend  of  mine.* 

At  Obidos  the  whole  Amazonian  flood  is  gathered  into 

*  Gait  found  no  inches,  by  rain-gauge,  during  one  year  on  the  Upper  Amazons. 


a  narrow  trough,  through  which  it  rushes  with  mill-race 
swiftness  ;  even  along  the  shores  it  is  difficult  to  force  vessels 
against  it.  This  channel  at  Obidos  is  little  more  than  a  mile 
wide,*  but  it  makes  up  for  that  by  its  great  depth.  Lieut. 
Herndon  sounded  it,  rather  unsatisfactorily  :  "In  what  was 
pointed  out  as  the  deepest  part  I  sounded  in  one  hundred  and 
fifty,  one  hundred  and  eighty,  and  two  hundred  and  ten  feet, 
with  generally  a  pebbly  bottom.  In  another  place  I  judged  I 
had  bottom  in  two  hundred  and  forty  feet,  but  the  lead  came 
up  clean.  It  is  very  difficult  to  get  correct  soundings  in  so 
rapid  a  current."  Wallace  found  that  this  current  ran  four 
miles  per  hour  in  the  dry  season.  Taking  these  two  observa- 
tions of  Herndon  and  Wallace  as  our  basis,  we  can  venture  on 
a  calculation  of  the  amount  of  water  that  passes  through  the 
strait.  With  a  width  of  six  thousand  feet,  we  may  allow  an 
average  depth  of  forty  feet — a  very  low  estimate.  This  would 
give  two  hundred  and  forty  thousand  feet  for  the  water  which 
is  opposite  a  given  foot  of  space  at  any  one  instant.  Mr. 
Wallace's  observation  was  made,  no  doubt,  in  mid-stream  ; 
along  the  banks,  and  at  the  bottom,  the  current  is  slower. 
Allow  but  two  and  one-quarter  miles  per  hour  for  the  aver- 
age, that  would  give  over  three  feet  per  second,  or  seven 
hundred  and  sixty  thousand  cubic  feet  per  second  in  the 
whole  breadth.  Von  Martins  and  Wallace,  it  is  true,  calcu- 
lated but  five  hundred  thousand  feet  per  second  ;  but  they 
must  have  underestimated  the  depth.  Below  Obidos,  the 
Amazons  receives  the  Tapajos,  Xingii,  and  other  smaller  trib- 
utaries ;  but  collectively  they  can  hardly  add  more  than  one 
hundred  thousand  feet  per  second.  On  the  whole,  if  we  say 
that   eight  hundred  and  fifty  thousand  feet  per  second  pass 

*  1,892  metres,  according  to  Sr.  D.  S.  Ferreira  Penna  :  A  Regiao  Occidental  da 
Provincia  do  Para,  p.  141. 


into  the  ocean  by  the  northern  mouth,  we  are  quite  within 
bounds.     That  is  double  the  outflow  of  the  Mississippi.* 

The  difference  in  rainfall  is  great  enough  to  produce 
a  yearly  rise  and  fall  of  the  river.  From  December  or 
January  to  June  the  winds  are  stronger,  and  the  cold 
currents  from  the  West  more  numerous  ;  every  fisherman 
knows  the  vejito  da  ciina — "wind  from  up-river" — which 
brings  rain  almost  always,  and  with  it  an  increase  of 
volume  in  the  river.  The  rise  and  fall  vary  a  good  deal 
with  the  locality  and  with  different  years.  On  the  Upper 
Amazons,  about  Teffe,  there  are,  in  fact,  two  floods,! 
corresponding  to  what  may  be  called  two  rainy  seasons. 
The  first  is  in  November  and  December,  when  the  showers 
are  somewhat  heavier  and  the  river  rises  fifteen  or  twenty 
feet  above  the  summer  level  ;  after  that  there  is  a  fall  of  four 
or  five  feet  before  the  great  rainy  season,  the  one  that  is  felt 
all  over  the  valley.  Perhaps  this  fall  in  December  is  caused 
by  dry  weather  below  the  Andes  ;  for  Lieut.  Herndon,  care- 
ful collector  of  facts,  has  recorded  this  in  Peru  :  ''  There  is  a 
period  of  fine  weather  from  the  middle  of  December  to  the 
middle  of  January,  called  El  Verano  del  Nifio,  or  the  sum- 
mer of  the  child,  from  its  happening  about  Christmas.  The 
streams  which  are  fed  from  the  rains  of  this  country  invari- 
ably stop  rising,  and  fall  a  little  after  this  period.''  \ 

At  Teffe  the  highest  water  is  in  June  :  forty-five  feet,  says    \ 
Bates,  above  the  summer  level,   but  it  varies  with  different 
years  ;  after  this  the  fall  continues  into  October.     But  here, 

*  Wallace,  on  a  basis  of  seventy-two  inches  per  annum,  calculates  the  rainfall 
of  the  whole  valley  at  one  million  five  hundred  thousand  cubic  feet  per  second, 
and  he  supposes  that  half  of  this  is  evaporated.  This  gives  nearly  the  same 

+  Bates:   Naturalist  on  the  Amazons,  p.  326. 

+  Valley  of  the  Amazon,  Part  I.,  p.  112. 


and  elsewhere  on  the  upper  rivers,  there  are  repiquetes — 
Httle  floods — when  the  waters  increase  a  few  inches  only  ; 
these  seem  to  be  caused  by  the  sudden  rising  of  one  or  two 
tributaries.  The  great  river  spreads  its  arms  over  such  a 
vast  territory  that  there  may  be  a  rainy  season  about  the 
head- waters  of  one,  while  the  others  are  still  low. 

On  the  Lower  Amazons,  however,  the  repiquetes  are  not 
felt,  and  the  two  floods  of  November  and  February  are 
hardly  sepa- 
rated. More- 
over, on  the 
broad  lower 
reaches  the 
rise  of  wa- 
ter is  not  so 
great  ;  for 
while  it  may 

-  be  sixty  feet 
on  the  Pu- 
r  u  s  ,*  and 
forty- five 
feet,  as  we  |^^ 
have  seen, 
at  Teffe,  we 
shall    hardly 

f-  find  it  over  thirty-five  feet  below  Obidos.  The  seasons  and 
the  floods  are  very  fickle  and  irregular, — much  to  the  discom- 
fort of  the  Indians,  for  their  yearly  fish  and  turtle  harvests 
depend  on  this  annual  rise  and  fall. 

River-side  Vegetation. 

*  According  to  Brown  and  Lidstone  :    Fifteen  Thousand  Miles  on  the  Amazon, 
p.  427. 


The  Amazonian  floods  are  not  at  all  like  the  freshets  that 
immerse  Albany  streets,  or  burst  through  the  levees  in  Lou- 
isiana. Those  are  caused  by  melting  snows  ;  but  this  tropical 
river-pulsation  is  entirely  dependent  on  the  rains  ;  the  flood 
comes  on  gradually,  and  the  water  passes  off"  by  slow  degrees. 

Wet  or  dry  season,  the  temperature  is  much  the  same 
all  over  the  valley,  and  by  no  means  a  scorching  equatorial 
heat  such  as  you  may  imagine.  At  Para,  it  is  true,  people 
complain  of  the  sultry  days,  but  you  shall  see  a  dozen  more 
sultry  ones  during  any  August  in  New  York  ;  90°  Fahren- 
heit is  about  the  highest  temperature  of  sunny  afternoons,* 
and  the  evenings  are  delightfully  cool. 

Now,  concerning  the  healthfulness  of  the  river-valley,  that 
is  a  question  with  two  sides.  I  can  take  you  from  Para  to 
the  Andes,  along  the  main  river,  and  you  will  never  have  so 
much  as  a  headache  ;  you  can  ascend  some  of  the  tributaries, 
and  in  a  week  you  will  be  shivering  with  ague.  In  general,  it 
may  be  said  that  the  Amazons  region  is  very  healthy  ;  the  ex- 
ceptions are  in  lowland  swamp-forest,  and  far  up  the  branch- 
rivers,  among  the  rapids.  Certain  rivers,  too,  are  healthy 
during  some  years,  but  unhealthy  at  other  times  ;  I  have 
found  this  on  the  Tocantins,  the  Xingu,  and  other  branches. 
Chandless,  writing  from  the  Puriis  in  1865,  says  :  ''  It  is  now 
very  healthy,  but  some  eight  years  ago  fever  was  so  preva- 
lent and  severe  one  season  that  the  following  year  four  or 
five  men  only  ventured  up  the  river."  If  two  hundred  fever- 
stricken  men  are  sent  down  from  the  Madeira  Railroad,   it 

*  92°  or  93°,  says  Bates ;  but  Lieut.  Herndon's  table,  made  in  April,  shows 
nothing  above  86^.  In  the  absence  of  exact  data  I  give  the  mean.  At  Manaos,  in 
a  series  of  hourly  observations  taken  through  many  years,  the  highest  temperature 
noted  was  95°  Fahr.,  and  the  lowest  68°. 


is  hardly  fair  to  judge  the  whole  valley  by  their  account. 
The  railroad  is  located  near  the  great  Madeira  Rapids,  pre- 
cisely the  most  sickly  spot  on  that  river  ;  and  the  men  were 
half-starved  besides.  I  wandered  for  four  years  on  the 
Amazons,  and  never  had  the  ague  at  all;  I  caught  it  in  three 
days  on  the  Ohio.  People  live  to  old  age,  and  are  hale  and 
hearty  wdth  their  gray  hairs.  You  hear  sometimes  of  the 
''enervating"  climate,  but  even  that  bugbear  is  largely 
imaginary.  The  white  race  is  lazy  here,  not  because  of  the 
climate,  but  from  its  own  immorality  and  decay.  American 
residents  can  and  do  work  as  well  as  in  the  United  States, 
and  they  stand  the  strain  better.  The  only  ''enervating" 
effect  I  ever  experienced  was  a  slight  lassitude  on  returning 
to  the  changeable  northern  climate  ;  but  that  soon  passed 

To  the  river-people  the  floods  are  a  yearly  ''  ebb  and 
flow" — vasaitte  and  encJiente.  But  on  the  Lower  Ama- 
zons there  are  true  ebbs  and  flows — the  regular  twelve-hourly 
tides.  Of  course,  you  would  look  for  tides  about  a  river- 
mouth.  But  the  Amazons  is  not  content  with  this  :  it  has 
appropriated  to  itself  a  part  of  the  ocean  movements,  and 
you  find  them  away  up  in  the  fresh  water  five  or  six  hun- 
dred miles  from  the  sea.  They  are  modified  by  the  annual 
rise  :  during  the  flood  season  tides  are  hardly  felt  above 
the  Xingu  ;  but  in  August  and  September  they  are  quite 
distinct  at  Obidos  and  on  the  Lower  Tapajos.  Bates  found 
them  on  a  secondary  branch  of  the  latter  river,  five  hun- 
dred and  thirty  miles,  as  the  channels  run,  from  the  sea. 
On  the  main  Amazons  they  do  not  stop  the  current,  but 
retard  it  ;  only  through  the  little  side-channels  the  water  is 
forced  back  very  perceptibly,  and  canoemen  take  advantage 
of  this  ebb  and  flow  in  their  voyages. 

12  BRAZIL. 

You  will  understand,  of  course,  that  the  salt  water  never 
comes  up  so  far  ;  on  the  contrary,  it  hardly  enters  the  river- 
mouth  at  all.  At  Para,  even  in  the  height  of  the  dry  season, 
the  river  is  only  slightly  brackish,  and  outside  of  the  islands 
of  Caviana  and  Mexiana  it  is  still  quite  fresh.  I  suppose  that 
the  up-river  tide  is  simply  caused  by  the  damming  up  of  the 
current  below  ;  or  in  part  it  may  be  a  kind  of  wave,  a  back- 
water from  the  sea,  as  pebbles  thrown  into  a  pond  will  send 
circles  to  the  very  brim. 

Near  the  mouth  this  wave  is  very  apparent.  The  tide 
is  forced,  so  to  speak,  into  a  funnel,  over  shoals  and  against 
the  descending  current ;  it  rises  in  a  great  solid  mass  three 
or  four  feet  high,  uprooting  trees  along  the  banks  and  break- 
ing canoes  that  may  happen  to  be  in  shallow  water.  This  is 
the  celebrated  porortka*  a  phenomenon  which  is  best  seen 
on  the  northern  side  of  the  river,  and  during  the  spring 
tides.  Travellers  have  had  much  to  say  of  X\\^  pororoca,  and 
some  of  them,  no  doubt,  have  multiplied  it  in  their  fancy. 
However,  the  tidal  wave  is  really  formidable,  and  much 
dreaded  by  the  canoemen,  who  keep  in  mid-channel  to  avoid 
its  force. 

The  tides  below  and  the  river-floods  above  must  spread 
themselves  through  a  hundred  courses,  in  every  possible  direc- 
tion, for  the  Amazons  is  not  so  much  a  single  river  as  a  net- 
work of  large  and  small  channels.  Generally  we  find  a  main 
stream — sometimes  two — with  smaller  ones  on  either  side,  with 
islands  and  swamps  and  lakes  innumerable,  forming  that  great 
labyrinth  to  which  Brazilians  give  the  name  varzeas  ;  geogra- 

*  Wallace  :  Travels  on  the  Amazon  and  Rio  Negro,  p.  129  :  La  Condamine,  etc. 
The  name  comes  apparently  from  pororog,  Tupi-Guarany  :  the  noise  caused  by 
breaking:  or  burstine. 



phers  call  it  the  flood-plain  of  the  Amazons.  It  is  perfectly 
flat,  never  raised  more  than  a  few  inches  above  high-water 
level,  and  everywhere  the  islands  are  formed  of  silt  and  mud 
from  the  river  itself.     The  flood-plain  varies  greatly  in  out- 

Fiooded   Forest  of  the   Upper  Amazons  (from   Keller). 

line,  and  there  are  long  projections  of  it  where  the  tributaries 
come  in.  From  Manaos  to  Marajo  it  may  have  an  average 
width  of  thirty  miles  or  more. 

14  BRAZIL. 

Now,  this  great  band,  running  across  the  continent,  is  a 
world  in  itself,  with  trees  and  flowers,  with  quadrupeds,  and 
birds  and  insects,  all  different  from  those  of  the  terra  firme  on 
either  side  of  it.  It  is  well  for  us  to  understand  in  the  out- 
set this  first  division  of  the  land,  because  it  is  the  most  strik- 
ing and  the  most  important  one  of  all.  By  and  by,  when  we 
come  to  study  the  lowlands,  we  shall  have  long  rambles  to 
take  over  the  meadows  and  in  the  shore  woods  ;  we  must 
force  our  way  through  swampy  jungle,  and  float  in  canoes 
among  the  shady  by-channels  and  shallow  lakes. 

In  March  and  April  the  river  has  overflowed  the  varzeas, 
so  that  hardly  a  dry  spot  is  left ;  the  valley  is  like  a  great  lake 
with  deeper  channels  marking  the  water-courses,  and  only  the 
submerged  forest  and  floating  grass  to  indicate  islands  and 
meadows.  Towards  the  Atlantic  this  flooded  land  occupies 
an  area  as  broad  as  New  England,  and  the  channels  are 
even  more  tangled  than  above. 

The  school  geographies,  I  remember,  used  to  tell  us  that 
the  mouth  of  the  Amazons  was  one  hundred  and  eighty  miles 
wide.  There  was  some  reason  in  this,  with  a  great  deal  of 
error.  If  we  allow  that  the  mouth  extends  from  the  north- 
ern side  of  the  northernmost  channel  to  the  southern  side  of 
the  Para,  then  the  geographies  are  right.  But  the  Para 
is  properly  a  continuation  of  the  Tocantins,  and  Marajo,  the 
srreat  tract  included  in  this  measurement,  is  not  a  delta  island 


at  all.  It  is  true  that  nearly  the  whole  of  it  is  formed  of 
— ;\  river-silt  ;  but  there  is  a  framework  of  higher  and  older  land, 
jy  with  rock-formations  and  terra-firme  forest,  as  at  Breves. 
This  older  land  forms  a  strip,  or  rather  a  series  of  strips, 
along  the  southwestern  side  of  the  island,  and  adjoining  the 
net   of  channels    by  which  the  Amazons  is  connected  with 


the  Para.  In  these  channels  the  tides  ebb  and  flow  ;  but  the 
general  current,  no  doubt,  is  from  the  Amazons  to  the  Para. 
So,  even  in  the  dry  season,  the  volume  of  water  received  by 
the  latter  river  in  this  way  may  be  greater  than  that  of 
the  Tocantins,  and  in  the  winter  the  proportion  is  increased. 
But,  in  any  case,  the  amount  is  very  small  compared  to  the 
great  flood  which  is  poured  out  of  the  Amazons  on  the 
northern  side  of  Marajo.  Besides,  the  Para  flows  almost 
north,  and  right  in  the  course  of  the  Tocantins  ;  so  we  may 
consider  it  as  an  estuary  mouth  of  the  latter,  receiving  also 
the  Guama  and  its  branches,  and  increased  by  this  contribu- 
tion sent  in  through  the  Breves  channels.  It  has  a  fair  claim 
to  Amazonian  honors  ;  but,  allowing  this,  I  cannot  see  why 
Marajo,  a  tract  as  large  as  the  State  of  New  York,  should 
be  reduced  to  the  rank  of  a  mere  "  island  in  the  mouth  of 
the  Amazons,"  nor  why  the  great  river  should  be  forced  to 
open  its  mouth  a  hundred  and  eighty  miles  to  choke  itself 
with  such  a  morsel. 

The  Para  itself  is  thirty  miles  wide,  but  it  does  not  stain 
the  sea  to  a  very  great  distance.  North  of  Marajo  the  main 
mouth  is  about  sixty  miles  across,  and  much  broken  by  isl- 
ands ;  the  principal  channel  below  Macapa  is  ten  or  twelve 
miles  wide.*  This  part  of  the  river  is  much  obstructed  by 
shifting  sand-bars,  and  the  fierce  currents  make  it  a  danger- 
ous entrance  for  ships;  so  I  suppose  that  the  Para  will  be 
the  commercial  mouth  of  the  Amazons  as  long  as  the  world 

Farther  up,  the  river  is  deep  enough  ;  fifteen  or  twenty 
fathoms,  even  near  the  banks,  and  in  the  middle  it  is  not 
easy  to  sound.     The  current  is  swift  and  steady;  the  river,  in 

According  to  the  map  of  Tardy  de  Montravel. 

l6  BRAZIL. 

mass,  appears  yellowish  brown  ;  but,  on  the  surface  at  least, 
it  is  not  a  muddy  stream  like  the  Mississippi  ;  if  you  dip  up 
the  water  in  a  glass  it  will  deposit  hardly  any  sediment,  and 
even  during  the  floods  it  is  excellent  for  drinking.  On  the 
Amazonian  steamboats,  river-water  is  always  kept  in  great 
porous  jars,  for  the  benefit  of  passengers. 

The  river  is  full  of  varzea  islands,  as  we  have  seen.  The 
main  channel  may  be  seven  or  eight  miles  wide,  as  near  the 
mouth  of  the  Xingu,  but  oftener  it  is  only  two  or  three  miles. 
The  bends  are  seldom  very  sharp  ;  so  you  can  look  up  and 
down  to  open  horizons,  where  the  lines  of  forest  are  lifted 
up  by  the  mirage,  and  broken  into  groups  and  single  trees 
until  they  disappear  altogether :  it  is  like  going  out  to  sea. 

Above  the  narrow  strait  at  Obidos  we  find  again  an 
average  breadth  for  the  main  channels  of  two  miles  or  more  ; 
Herndon  tells  of  sounding  in  from  seventy-five  to  one  hun- 
dred and  fifty  feet  of  water ;  and  away  up  to  Nauta  there 
is  yet  a  navigable  channel  with  six  or  seven  fathoms,  and 
with  a  current  of  two  and  a  half  or  three  miles  per  hour. 

It  is  a  wild  region,  this  of  the  Alto  Amazonas ;  a  shade 
more  savage,  even,  than  the  eastern  portion  of  the  valley. 
The  villages  are  very  few,  and  most  of  them  are  mere  collec- 
tions of  Indian  huts,  a  dozen  together.  Only  after  we  pass 
the  Peruvian  frontier  the  population  begins  to  increase  a  lit- 
tle toward  the  Andes  ;  once  in  ten  or  fifteen  miles  there  may 
be  a  hamlet  crowded  against  the  river  banks ;  but  within 
there  is  only  the  unbroken,  rayless  forest — a  solitude  that 
can  be  felt. 

Tabatinga,  on  the  Peruvian  frontier,  is  only  two  hundred 
feet,  it  is  said,  above  the  Atlantic.  It  is  difficult,  however, 
to  compute  the  slope  of  the  river-plain.  Agassiz  supposed 
that  the  fall  was  one  foot  in  ten  miles  ;   Orton  gives  one  foot 



in  five  miles,  which  is  probably  nearer  the  truth.  But  baro- 
metrical measurements  in  this  region  are  not  very  reliable. 
Herndon  suggests  an  explanation  :  "I  am  led  to  believe 
that  this  irregularity  arises  from  the  fact  that  the  trade-winds 
are  dammed  up  by  the  Andes,  and  that  the  atmosphere  in 
those  parts  is  from  this  cause  compressed,  and  consequently 
heavier  than  it  is  farther  from  the  mountains."  He  may  be 
right  in  part ;  but  the 
amount  of  moisture 
in  the  air  is  a  more 
important  element  of 
error.  We  cannot 
measure  it,  for  the 
heaviest  layers  are 
high  up  out  of  our 
reach.*  We  know,  at 
any  rate,  that  the  fall 
of  the  river  is  very 
slight,  and  it  may 
seem  strange  that  the 
current  should  be  so 
rapid.  But  a  river 
may  run,  even  on  per- 
fectly level  ground, 
if  there  is  a  constant 
supply  of  moisture  about  its  head;  just  as  in  a  trough, 
which  may  be  exactly  level,  if  water  is  poured  in  at  one 
end,  it  will  run  out  at  the  other  end  in  a  constant  stream. 
Above  Nauta,  however,  the  slope  increases  rapidly,  and 

On  the   Banks — Lower  Amazons. 

*  Chandless  makes  the  mouth  of  the  Puriis  one  hundred  and  seven  feet  above 
the  Atlantic  ;  Keller  gives  twenty-one  metres  for  the  level  of  the  Madeira  em- 


1 8  BRAZIL. 

then  there  is  that  long  south-to-north  course  where  the  river 
rushes  and  foams  down  the  rocky  valley  from  its  lake-cradle 
in  the  Andes.  It  is  little  more  than  a  pond,  this  lake  of 
Lauricocha ;  the  hills  around  are  bare  and  bleak  to  the  snowy 
Cordilleras  that  feed  it. 

Fragments  of  pumice-stone  float  down  from  the  Andean 
volcanoes,  and  are  picked  up  even  on  the  shores  of  Marajo. 
Melting  snows  swell  the  volume  of  water  ;  granite  and  gneiss 
and  slate  from  the  mountains  have  been  washed  away  to  form 
these  varzea  islands,  to  build  up  the  sea-bottom  half-way  to 
the  West  Indies. 

Long  ago  Pingon  told  of  a  fresh-water  sea  which  he  had 
found  on  the  South  American  coast,  where,  it  is  affirmed,  he 
filled  his  water-casks  while  yet  he  could  not  see  the  shore.* 
Pinion's  voyage  was  made  in  1500,  and  he  discovered 
this  fresh  water  about  March  of  that  year — i.  c,  during  the 
flood  season  ;  so  we  may  suppose  that  he  actually  did  find 
fresh  water  far  outside  of  the  river-mouth,  though  we  may 
doubt  the  forty  leagues  which  Herrera  and  others  credit. 
Probably  he  had  sailed  about  forty  leagues  from  his  last  land- 
ing-place, but  in  a  line  almost  parallel  to  the  coast. 

A  wonderful  sight  it  must  have  been  to  the  explorer  and 
his  company.  They  dipped  up  the  yellow  water  for  their 
casks,  but  all  around  there  was  clear  horizon — never  a  tree 
or  a  sandbar.  It  is  written,  however,  that  **  wishing  to  know 
this  secret,  he  approached  the  land  ;  and  there  were  there 
many  beautiful  and  verdant  islands,  with  much  people,  who 
received  the  sailors  with  as  srreat  love  as  if  thev  had  always 
known  them."  With  true  Spanish  brutality  they  rewarded 
the   faith   of   these    simple-hearted    savages.      "  Not    finding 

*  Herrera  :   Hist.  Gen.  de  las  Indias,  Tom.  I.,  p.  90  ;  J.  C.  da  Silva:  L'Oyapoc  et 
TAmazone,  vol.  ii.,  ^  2530-2583. 

THE    GREAT   RIVER    AND    ITS    HISTORY.  1 9 

provisions  in  this  place,  they  took  away  with  them  thirty- 
six  men,  and  so  sailed  on  to  Paria." 

These  were  the  first  tidings  of  the  mighty  king-river.  It 
is  interesting  to  read  in  the  *'  Capitulation  "  of  Pingon,  how 
*'  with  the  help  of  God  our  Lord,  and  with  your  own  industry 
and  labor  and  diligence,  you  discovered  certain  islands  and 
main  land  ;  and  from  thence  you  followed  the  coast,  which 
runs  to  the  northeast,  to  the  great  river^  which  you  called 
Saint  Mary  of  the  Fresh-Water  Sea — Santa  Maria  de  la 
Mar  Dzdce/'  * 

This  was  the  first  name  given  to  the  river,  except  that 
older  and  better  one  of  the  Indians,  Parana,  the  sea ;  after- 
wards it  was  Maraiion  and  Rio  das  Amazonas,  from  the 
female  warriors  that  were  supposed  to  live  near  its  banks. 
Yet  for  the  moment  we  will  draw  Pincon's  name  out  of  its 
oblivion  and  let  it  stand  in  our  chapter. 

After  Pingon's  time,  there  were  others  who  saw  the  fresh- 
water sea,  but  no  one  was  hardy  enough  to  venture  into  it. 
The  honor  of  its  real  discovery  was  reserved  for  P'rancisco 
de  Orellana  ;  and  he  explored  it,  not  from  the  east,  but  from 
the  west,  in  one  of  the  most  daring  voyages  that  was  ever 

It  was  accident,  rather  than  design,  that  led  him  to  it. 
After  Alonzo  Pizarro  had  conquered  Peru,  he  sent  his 
brother  Gonzalo,  with  three  hundred  and  forty  Spanish 
soldiers  and  four  thousand  Indians,  to  explore  the  great 
forest  east  of  Quito,  "  where  there  were  cinnamon-trees." 
The  expedition  started  late    in    1539,   and  it  was   two  years 

*  Capitulation  de  Vincent  Pin9on.  This  curious  document  was  coj^ied  from  a 
manuscript  in  Madrid,  and  first  published  by  Sr.  J.  C.  da  Silva,  as  an  appendix  of 
his  L'Oyopoc  et  I'Amazone — a  work,  I  may  add,  which  shows  an  amount  of  re- 
search not  at  all  common  with  Brazilians. 


20  BRAZIL. 

before  the  starved  and  ragged  survivors  returned  to  Quito. 
In  the  course  of  their  wanderings  they  had  struck  the  river 
Coco  ;  building  here  a  brigantine,  they  followed  down  the 
current,  a  part  of  them  in  the  vessel,  a  part  on  shore.  After 
awhile  they  met  some  Indians,  who  told  them  of  a  rich 
country  ten  days'  journey  beyond — a  country  of  gold,  and 
with  plenty  of  provisions.  Gonzalo  placed  Orellana  in  com- 
mand of  the  brigantine,  and  ordered  him,  with  fifty  soldiers, 
to  go  on  to  this  gold-land,  and  return  with  a  load  of  pro- 
visions. Orellana  arrived  at  the  mouth  of  the  Coco  in  three 
days,  but  found  no  provisions;  "and  he  considered  that  if 
he  should  return  with  this  news  to  Pizarro,  he  would  not 
reach  him  in  a  year,  on  account  of  the  strong  current,  and 
that  if  he  remained  where  he  was,  he  would  be  of  no  use  to 
the  one  or  to  the  other.  Not  knowincf  how  lono;  Gonzalo 
Pizarro  would  take  to  reach  the  place,  without  consulting 
any  one  he  set  sail  and  prosecuted  his  voyage  onward,  in- 
tending to  ignore  Gonzalo,  to  reach  Spain,  and  obtain  that 
government  for  himself."* 

Down  the  Napo  and  the  Amazons,  for  seven  months, 
these  Spaniards  floated  to  the  Atlantic.  At  times  they 
suffered  terribly  from  hunger:  "There  was  nothing  to  eat 
but  the  skins  which  formed  their  girdles,  and  the  leather 
of  their  shoes,  boiled  with  a  few  herbs."  When  they  did 
get  food  they  were  often  obliged  to  fight  hard  for  it ;  and 
again  they  w^ere  attacked  by  thousands  of  naked  Indians, 
who  came  in  canoes  against  the  Spanish  vessels.  At  some 
Indian  villages,  however,  they  were  kindly  received  and 
well  fed,  so  they  could  rest  safely  while  building  a  new  and 

*  Garcilasso  Inca  de  la  Vega  :  Royal  Commentaries.  Translation  published  by 
the  Halduyt  Society.  Herrera,  however,  supposes  that  Orellana  may  have  con- 
tinued the  voyage  with  Gonzalo's  permission. 


stronger  vessel.  Think  what  a  picture  these  iron-clad  sol- 
diers must  have  made,  with  the  naked  Indians  about  them 
and  the  great  rolling  forest  behind. 

On  the  26th  of  August,  1541,  Orellana  and  his  men 
sailed  out  to  the  blue  water,  "  without  either  pilot,  com- 
pass, or  anything  useful  for  navigation  ;  nor  did  they  know 
what  direction  they  should  take."  Following  the  coast,  they 
passed  inside  of  the  island  of  Trinidad,  and  so  at  length 
reached  Cubagua  in  September.  From  the  king  of  Spain 
Orellana  received  a  grant  of  the  land  he  had  discovered ; 
but  he  died  while  returning  to  it,  and  his  company  was 

It  was  not  a  very  reliable  account  of  the  river  that  was 
given  by  Orellana  and  his  chronicler.  Padre  Carbajal.  So 
Herrera  tells  their  story  of  the  warrior  females,  and  very 
properly  adds  :  **  Every  reader  may  believe  as  much  as  he 
likes."  Of  these  Amazon  women,  more  anon  ;  whether  they 
existed  or  not,  they  did  not  mix  in  white-race  affairs,  so  we 
may  dismiss  them  for  the  present. 

Lope  de  Aguirre's  voyage,  in  1561,  has  some  similarity 
to  Orellana's.  He  was  one  of  those  who  followed  Pedro  de 
Ursua  in  his  search  for  Omagua  and  El  Dorado.  They 
came  down  the  river  Huallaga  to  the  Amazons,  and  there 
this  Lope  de  Aguirre  and  others  conspired  against  their 
chief,  and  murdered  him  ;  elected  Guzman  to  the  command, 
and  murdered  him  also ;  finally,  formed  themselves  into  a 
piratical  band,  the  '' Marafiones,"  *  threw  off  allegiance  to 
Spain,  and  continued  their  search  for  El  Dorado  to  the  east- 
ward. It  appears  that  they  followed  down  the  Amazons  to 
the  Negro,  and  ascended  that  river  to  the  Casiquiare  canal,  ^ 

*  Whence,  perhaps,  the  name  of  the  river,  Maranon  or  Maranhao  ;  but  it  is  more 
probable  that  the  word  comes  from  the  Tupi  />araf/d. 

22  BRAZIL. 

and  so  to  the  Orinoco  ;  by  this  latter  stream  they  reached 
the  sea.  Their  whole  journey  was  marked  by  savage  mur- 
ders, cruelty  of  every  kind,  brutality  beyond  parallel,  even 
in  the  Spanish  chronicles.  "Traitor  Aguirre,"  and  **  ty- 
rant," the  historians  call  him  ;  I  wish  that  the  hangman  had 
found  him  before  ever  he  left  Peru.  "  It  was  noticed,"  says 
Padre  Simon,  '^  that  he  was  growing  morose  because  many 
days  had  elapsed  since  an  occasion  had  offered  to  kill  any 
one.    * 

Lope  sent  a  letter  to  King  Philip  of  Spain — one  of  the 
most  remarkable  documents,  in  its  way,  that  was  ever  pro- 
duced ;  and  in  the  matter  of  strong  language  it  would  be  hard 
to  match  it : 

"  I  take  it  for  certain,"  remarks  this  robber,  "  that  few  kings  go  to 
hell,  only  because  they  are  few  in  number  ;  but  that  if  there  were  many, 
none  of  them  would  go  to  heaven.  For  I  believe  that  you  are  all  worse 
than  Lucifer,  and  that  you  hunger  and  thirst  after  human  blood  ;  and 
further,  I  think  little  of  you,  and  despise  you  all,  nor  do  I  look  upon 
your  government  as  more  than  an  air-bubble." 

Aguirre's  description  of  his  voyage,  in  this  letter,  is  a  pithy 
resume  of  it : 

"  They  named  me  Maestro  del  Campo,  and  because  I  did  not  con- 
sent to  their  evil  deeds,  they  desired  to  murder  me.  I  therefore  killed 
our  new  king,  the  captain  of  his  guard,  his  lieutenant-general,  four  cap- 
tains, his  major-domo,  his  chaplain  who  said  mass,  a  woman,  a  knight 
of  the  order  of  Rhodes,  an  admiral,  two  ensigns,  and  five  or  six  of  his 
servants.  It  was  my  intention  to  carry  on  the  war,  on  account  of  the 
many  cruelties  which  thy  ministers  had  committed.  I  named  captains 
and  sergeants  ;  but  these  men  also  wanted  to  kill  me,  and  I  hung  them. 

*  Primera  Parte  de  las  Noticias  Historicas  de  las  Conquistas  de  Tierra  Firme. 
Translated  and  published  by  the  Hakluyt  Society. 


We  continued  our  course  while  all  this  evil  was  befalling  us,  and  it  was 
eleven  months  and  a  half  before  we  reached  the  mouth  of  the  river, 
having  travelled  for  more  than  a  hundred  days,  over  more  than  fifteen 
hundred  leagues.  This  river  has  a  course  of  two  thousand  leagues  of 
fresh  water,  the  greater  part  of  the  shores  being  uninhabited  ;  and  God 
only  knows  how  we  ever  escaped  out  of  this  fearful  sea.  I  advise  thee 
not  to  send  any  Spanish  fleet  up  this  ill-omened  river;  for,  on  the  faith 
of  a  Christian,  I  swear  to  thee,  O  King  and  Lord,  that  if  a  hundred  thou- 
sand men  should  go  up,  not  one  would  escape." 

In  a  contradictory  mood  he  finishes  : 

"  We  pray  God  that  thy  strength  may  ever  be  increased  against  the 
Turk  and  the  Frenchman,  and  all  others  who  desire  to  make  war  against 
thee  ;  and  Ave  shall  give  God  thanks  if,  by  our  arms,  we  attain  the  re- 
wards which  are  due  to  us,  but  which  thou  hast  denied  us  ;  and,  because 
of  thine  ingratitude,  I  am  a  rebel  against  thee  until  death. 

(Signed)  "  LoPE  DE  Aguirre,  the  Wanderer." 

Fortunately,  the  madman  and  his  crew  were  defeated  in  a 
battle  with  the  royal  forces  ;  on  this  he  killed  his  own  daugh- 
ter, **  that  she  might  not  be  pointed  at  with  scorn  as  the 
daughter  of  a  traitor  ;  "  and  then  gave  himself  up  ignobly, 
when,  as  I  am  glad  to  learn,  he  was  immediately  put  to  death. 
Will-o'-the-wisp  lights  flicker  on  the  llanos  :  the  country 
people  cross  themselves  when  they  see  these  reddish  flames — 
*'  the  soul  of  the  traitor  Aguirre."  * 

Para  had  already  been  founded,  in  1616,  when  two  monks 
of  the  Order  of  San  Francisco  came  down  the  river.  They 
had  been  driven  from  the  Peruvian  missions  by  savage  In- 
dians ;  they  floated  down  in  a  canoe,  with  fear  and  trembling, 
'Mike  persons  who  were  each  day  in  the  hands  of  death." 
From  Para  these  monks  went  on  to  Maranhao,  where  they 

*  Humboldt :   Reise. 

24  BRAZIL. 

persuaded  the  governor,  Noronha,  to  explore  tne  river  and 
carry  them  back  to  Peru.  Pedro  Texeira  was  chosen  to  com- 
mand the  expedition  ;  he  set  out  in  1637,  with  over  forty 
canoes,  containing  seventy  Portuguese  soldiers  and  twelve 
hundred  Indians,  with  women  and  boys, — in  all,  two  thousand 

Not  all  commanders  are  so  well  chosen.  This  man  Tex- 
eira was  gifted  with  prudence  and  wisdom  ;  but  withal  he  was 
bold  and  persevering — ^just  the  man  to  carry  a  great  expedi- 
tion through  an  unknown  country.  The  Indians  deserted 
him  ;  his  soldiers  would  have  turned  back  ;  only  his  skill  and 
tact  kept  them  from  open  mutiny.  Benito  Rodrigues  was 
sent  ahead  as  pioneer  ;  the  captain  followed  in  his  track,  and 
so,  after  a  whole  year,  they  all  reached  the  Spanish  settle- 
ments in  Peru.  Texeira  left  the  canoes  in  command  of 
trusted  officers,  and  went  on  to  Quito. 

At  that  time  Portugal  and  its  possessions  were  united  to 
Spain ;  the  Spanish  viceroy,  therefore,  received  Texeira  with 
open  arms,  and  not  a  little  surprised  he  must  have  been  at 
such  a  wonderful  adventure.  When  Texeira  returned,  in 
February,  1639,  a  Jesuit  priest  was  sent  with  him  as  a  chron- 
icler ;  this  was  Pedro  Cristoval  de  Acufia,  to  whom  we  owe 
our  first  intelligible  account  of  the  river. 

I,  for  one,  respect  the  old  writer  most  thoroughly.  One 
wades  through  scores  of  rubbishy  books  on  Brazil,  and  this 
simple,  vivid  story  shines  forth  a  light  in  the  darkness.  I 
keep  my  Nicevo  Desciibrimiento,  with  Bates,  and  Wallace, 
and  Penna,  for  constant  reference.  It  is  true  that  Acufia 
gives  credit  to  certain  Indian  fables,  but  he  always  presents 
these  reports  as  such  ;  and  I  cannot  wonder  at  his  faith  in 
them,  remembering  that  the  whole  region  was  a  terra  incog- 
nita,   which  rumor  had  already  peopled    with   El   Dorados, 


and  dwarfs,  and  one-eyed  men.  Now,  when  all  men  believe 
a  thing,  it  is  human  nature  to  add  our  belief  to  that  of  all 
men,  be  it  for  graveyard  ghosts  or  the  atomic  theory.  If 
a  hundred  million  Christians  believed  that  the  moon  was 
made  of  green  cheese,  you  and  I  would  believe  it  too. 

Acufia  does  not  fall  into  many  errors.  He  speaks  much 
of  the  tributaries,  of  the  channels  and  islands,  of  the  forest 
and  the  fertile  soil ;  and  dwells  strongly  on  the  importance 
of  the  Amazons  as  a  highway  across  the  continent :  I  hope 
his  dreams  may  be  realized  yet.  One  can  sympathize  with 
the  enthusiasm  which  writes  :  "  The  river  has  rich  reward  for 
all  who  will  come.  To  the  poor  it  offers  sustenance  ;  to  the 
laborer,  a  return  for  his  work  ;  to  the  merchant,  employ- 
ment ;  to  the  soldier,  a  field  of  valor  ;  to  the  rich,  yet  greater 
riches  ;  to  the  noble,  honors  ;  to  the  powerful,  estates  ;  and 
to  the  King  himself,  a  new  empire." 

Acufia  and  the  others  found  a  host  of  Indian  villages 
along  the  banks,  so  close  together  in  some  places  that  they 
formed  a  continuous  line.  **  They  are  engaged  in  constant 
wars,  in  which  they  kill  and  take  prisoners  great  numbers  of 
souls  every  day.  This  is  the  drain  provided  for  so  great  a 
multitude,  without  which  the  whole  land  would  not  be  large 
enough  to  hold  them."  However,  I  think  that  the  most  of 
this  population  was  close  to  the  river-banks  ;  the  deep  forest 
was  as  wild  as  it  is  now,  with  only  half-animal  roving  Indian 

The  Indians  found  worse  enemies  than  their  own  neigh- 
bors :  Portuguese  slavery  on  one  side,  Spanish  bloodhounds 
and  arquebuses  on  the  other  ;  fighting  bravely,  or  submit- 
ting as  they  might,  they  were  swept  away  by  thousands,  un- 
til the  land  was  left  desolate.  Already  in  Acuila's  time, 
Benito  Maciel  was  enslaving  them  on  the  Tapajos  ;  the  Jesuit 



cried  against  this  wickedness,  as  Jesuit  missionaries  cried  for 
a  century  after,  until  they  were  driven  out  of  the  country. 
They  were  heroes,  these  priests  ;  bigots,  I  grant  you,  but 
their  great  hearts  rose  above  it  all ;  even  the  wild  savages  re- 
spected them.  The  Amazons,  to  this  day,  would  be  as  im- 
passable as  Central  Africa,  but  for  the  Jesuit  missionaries — 
man-tamers  and  peace-makers  worthy  of  their  martyrdom.* 

The  villages,  now,  are   few  and    far  between  ;  but  there 
are  good  and  gentle  people  in  them,  white  or  brown.     They 

Indian   Settlement. 

are  close  to  the  river-banks  ;  within  there  is  only  the  thick 
wood,  without  roads,  without  paths  even — the  largest  forest 
in  the  world.  Suppose  we  allow  two  millions  five  hundred 
thousand  square  miles  for  the  valley,  the  highest  possible  es- 

*  The  Jesuits  taught  in  the  I'mgua-g-eral^  a  somewhat  corrupted  form  of  the  Tupi, 
For  a  long  time  this  language  was  used  almost  exclusively  on  the  Amazons,  but  it 
is  now  supplanted  by  the  Portuguese,  in  most  places. 


timate  of  the  population  will  give  one  million  souls — two  for 
every  five  square  miles.  The  province  of  Alto  Amazonas 
contains,  in  round  numbers,  seven  hundred  and  fifty  thousand 
square  miles,  and  the  whole  registered  population  is  hardly 
fifty-five  thousand  ;  add  to  this  the  wild  Indians,  and  we 
may  possibly  have  one  hundred  thousand — one  for  seven  and 
one-half  square  miles,  and  these  few  are  gathered  in  villages, 
little  specks  in  the  wilderness. 

Imagine,  if  you  can,  this  matted  forest — this  maze  of  col- 
umns, and  branches,  and  leaves,  and  looping  vines.  Imagine 
a  region  where  you  must  cut  your  path  right  and  left ;  where 
sunshine  hardly  reaches  the  ground  ;  where  man  is  an  in- 
truder— an  insult,  almost,  to  the  solitude.  There  is  no  desert 
like  this,  for  in  the  great  plains  of  Asia  and  Africa  you  can 
look  about  and  know  if  there  be  other  human  beings  near 
you ;  here,  you  could  be  but  half  a  mile  from  one  of  these 
tiny  villages — and  you  starving  withal,  blind  to  your  safety, 
invisible  to  the  world. 

You  have  heard  that  marvellous  story  of  Madame  Godin 
des  Odonais  :  how  she  wandered  alone  through  these  forests, 
and  yet  was  saved,  as  by  a  miracle.  Twenty  years  she  had 
been  parted  from  her  husband  ;  his  letters  to  her  had  been 
lost  by  the  faithlessness  of  a  messenger  ;  she,  in  Quito,  only 
knew  of  a  Portuguese  boat  which  was  w^aiting  on  the  Upper 
Amazons  to  convey  her  to  him  at  Cayenne. 

Remember,  this  was  in  1769,  when  even  the  mission- 
stations  were  very  few.  The  route  is  difficult  now,  even  for 
strong  men  ;  but  this  Frenchwoman  braved  it  when  the  at- 
tempt must  have  seemed  like  madness.  Her  father  went 
before,  to  have  men  and  canoes  ready  for  her  at  each  station, 
and  she  followed  down  the  Bobonassa  branch  in  a  boat,  with 
several  persons.     Two  of  these  were  her  brothers,  and  there 

2  8  BRAZIL. 

was  a  nephew  of  nine  or  ten  years,  with  a  French  physician 
who  was  travelHng  the  same  way  ;  for  servants  she  had  a 
negro  man  and  three  women.  Her  father  had  arranged  for 
their  embarkation  at  Canelos,  but  meanwhile  the  small-pox 
had  appeared  there,  and  the  Indians  had  left  the  place.  So 
here  they  could  get  no  crew,  and  the  Peruvians  who  had 
come  over  the  mountains  with  them  would  go  no  farther — 
deserted  them  in  their  sore  need.  Still,  with  two  men  who 
remained  at  Canelos,  they  ventured  to  embark  ;  but  on  the 
third  morning  these  two  deserted  them  also,  and  they  had  to 
go  on  without  a  pilot.  The  Bobonassa  is  full  of  rapids  ; 
as  might  have  been  expected,  their  boat  was  presently  upset, 
and  the  party  was  obhged  to  land.  After  that  Madame 
Godin  and  her  brothers  resolved  to  remain  on  the  bank, 
while  the  French  physician  and  her  negro  slave  went  on  to 
Andoas  ;  the  Frenchman  promised  to  send  back  a  properly 
manned  canoe  for  them  within  two  weeks.  Those  who  re- 
mained built  a  hut,  and  waited  vainly  for  twenty-five  days. 

Then,  ''giving  up  all  hope,  they  constructed  a  raft,  on  which  they 
ventured  themselves  with  their  provisions  and  property.  The  raft,  badly 
made,  struck  against  a  sunken  tree  ;  all  their  effects  were  lost,  and  the 
whole  party  was  thrown  into  the  water.  Thanks  to  the  narrowness  of  the 
river  at  this  place,  no  one  was  drowned,  Madame  Godin  being  happily 
saved  after  twice  sinking.  Placed  now  in  a  more  terrible  situation,  they 
resolved  to  follow  down  the  banks  of  the  river.  They  returned  to  their 
hut,  took  what  provisions  they  had  left  behind,  and  began  their  journey 
along  the  river- side.  They  found  that  its  sinuosities  greatly  lengthened 
their  way  ;  to  avoid  this  they  penetrated  the  forest,  and  in  a  few  days 
lost  themselves.  Wearied  by  so  many  days'  march  through  the  midst  of 
woods,  their  feet  torn  by  thorns  and  brambles,  their  provisions  exhausted, 
and  dying  of  thirst,  they  seated  themselves  on  the  ground,  too  weak  to 
stand,  and  waited  thus  the  approach  of  death  ;  in  three  or  four  days  they 
expired,  one  after  another.     Madame  Godin,  stretched  on  the  ground  by 


the  corpses  of  her  brothers,  stupefied,  delirious,  and  tormented  with 
choking  thirst,  at  length  assumed  resolution  and  strength  enough  to 
wander  on.  Such  was  her  deplorable  condition,  that  she  was  without 
shoes,  and  her  clothes  all  torn  to  rags  ;  she  cut  the  shoes  off  her  brothers' 
feet,  and  fastened  the  soles  on  her  own.  It  was  on  the  ninth  day  after 
she  left  this  place  when  she  reached  the  banks  of  the  Bobonassa  ;  she 
assured  me  that  she  was  ten  days  alone  in  the  woods — two  awaiting  death 
by  the  side  of  her  brothers,  the  other  eight  wandering  at  random.  On 
the  second  day's  march,  the  distance  necessarily  inconsiderable,  she 
found  water,  and  the  succeeding  day  some  wild  fruit  and  fresh  eggs — of 
what  bird  she  knew  not,  but  by  her  description  I  judge  that  it  was  some 
kind  of  partridge  ;  she  ate  them  with  the  greatest  difficulty,  her  throat 
being  so  parched  and  swollen  ;  but  these,  and  other  food  she  accident- 
ally met  with,  sufficed  to  support  her  skeleton  frame." 

When  at  length  she  reached  the  river,  by  the  merest  ac- 
cident she  encountered  two  Indians  who  were  just  launching 
a  canoe  from  the  bank  ;  they  took  her  to  Andoas,  whence 
she  finally  reached  the  Portuguese  vessel  at  Tabatinga,  and 
was  conveyed  to  her  husband. 

"  The  remembrance  of  the  terrible  spectacle,  the  horror  of  solitude 
and  the  darkness  of  night  in  the  desert,  had  such  an  effect  on  her  mind 
that  her  hair  turned  gray."  * 

Since  Madame  Godin's  time  the  forest  has  been  traversed 
again  and  again,  the  river  has  been  explored  and  re-ex- 
plored by  a  host  of  distinguished  travellers,  but  to  this  day 
the  country  is  as  wild  as  she  saw  it.  A  few  more  villages 
there  are  ;  a  few  more  people  in  the  old  ones  ;  but  far  in  the 
interior  there  are  great  tributary  rivers  of  which  we  know 
nothing — Indian  tribes  who  have  never  seen  a  white  face. 

After  La  Condamine's  time  came  Martins,  studying  the 

*  Letter  from  M.  Godin  des  Odonais  to  M.  de  la  Condamine,  published  by  the 

30  BRAZIL. 

plants — '^  meiiie  Freunde^''  he  said  ;  sweet  flowers  and  noble 
forest-trees,  and  waving  grasses ;  he  wrote  beautiful  prose 
poetry  about  them.  The  Englishmen,  Smythe  and  Mawe, 
and  the  Prussian,  Poepig,  explored  the  Upper  Amazons  ; 
D'Orbigny  travelled  on  the  Madeira,  and  Castelnau  on  the 
Ucayale  ;  Tardy  de  Montravel  mapped  the  Lower  Amazons ; 
and  with  these  we  come  to  the  explorers  of  our  own  day. 

I  have  already  spoken  of  Mr.  Bates  and  his  book.  This 
gentleman  was  an  English  naturalist,  who  came  to  the  Ama- 
zons in  1848,  and  lived  in  the  river-towns  for  eleven  years. 
Of  course,  he  had  far  better  advantages  for  studying  the 
country  and  the  people  than  a  mere  transient  traveller ;  his 
book  is  really  invaluable  for  its  descriptions,  which  are,  be- 
sides, very  readable.  Mr.  Wallace,  who  came  with  Mr.  Bates, 
travelled  at  first  in  his  company  ;  subsequently  he  explored 
the  Rio  Negro  and  its  affluent  the  Uapes,  and  gave  us  much 
reliable  information  about  a  little  known  region. 

In  1850  the  United  States  Government  sent  two  naval 
officers,  Lieuts.  Herndon  and  Gibbon,  to  explore  the  Ama- 
zons valley.  Herndon  examined  the  Peruvian  tributaries  ; 
Gibbon  visited  the  Bolivian  ones,  and  the  reports  of  both 
were  subsequently  published  at  Washington.  They  are 
crowded  with  information,  reliable  in  most  cases,  but  not 
very  well  digested.  Agassiz'  expedition  is  too  well  known 
to  need  comment.  Mrs.  Agassiz  wrote  a  clever  narrative  of 
the  voyage,  but,  beyond  a  few  scientific  papers,  the  results  of 
the  Amazons  survey  have  never  been  published.  Prof. 
Orton's  book  is  comprehensive,  but  very  unreliable  ;  for  my 
part,  I  would  far  rather  trust  the  much  older  American  book 
of  Mr.  Edwards,  which  has  no  greater  fault  than  the  bad 
spelling  of  Indian  and  Portuguese  words. 

One  other  American  remains  to  be  noticed.     Prof  Hartt 


came  to  the  Amazons  in  1 870,  and  again  in  187I0  He  ex- 
plored less  and  studied  more  —  studied  as  few  have  the 
power  to  study,  with  marvellous  acuteness  and  accuracy. 
There  is  hardly  a  superfluous  word  in  his  writings  ;  alas 
that  there  are  so  few  of  them  1  He  died,  before  his  work  was 
half  done,  a  victim  of  yellow  fever  at  Rio  de  Janeiro. 

The  Englishman,  Chandless,  merits  hardly  less  praise  ;  to 
him  we  owe  the  careful  explorations  of  the  Puriis  and  Jurua, 
and  a  survey  of  the  Tapajos  through  its  whole  length.  A 
brave  traveller  he  was,  and  a  modest ;  one  would  be  glad  of 
something  more  than  his  few  papers  in  the  Proceedings  of  the 
Geographical  Society. 

Of  Brazilian  explorers,  there  are  three  modern  ones  who 
especially  deserve  attention  :  Penna,  Barboza  Rodriguez,  and 
Coutinho.  The  first  is  a  gentleman  of  Para,  who  has  often 
been  employed  by  the  provincial  government  for  the  exami- 
nation of  various  districts  ;  his  reports  are  good  and  very 
reliable.  Dr.  Barboza  Rodriguez  is  a  well-known  Brazilian 
botanist,  who  was  commissioned  by  the  imperial  govern- 
ment to  collect  and  study  plants.  As  an  explorer  he  was 
enterprising  and  persevering ;  as  a  writer  he  would  be  valu- 
able if  he  confined  himself  to  facts  :  his  absurd  theories  and 
constant  quarrels  with  other  authorities  have  hidden  the 
real  value  of  his  work.  Coutinho  is  a  government  engineer, 
who  has  travelled  all  over  the  Amazons  valley ;  readers  of 
Mrs.  Agassiz's  book  will  remember  how  he  was  chosen  to 
accompany  the  professor  and  his  party.  Coutinho's  reports 
are  not  voluminous,  but  some  of  them  are  very  good. 

One  of  the  Brazilian  Government  explorations  was  placed 
in  charge  of  Franz  Keller,  a  German  engineer.  On  his  re- 
turn to  Europe  this  gentleman  published  a  book,  which  was 
subsequently  republished  in  English.      *'  The   Amazons  and 


the  Madeira  River "  is  very  readable,  but  its  chief  value 
lies  in  the  magnificent  illustrations  from  Keller's  own  pencil. 
I  might  mention  at  least  a  hundred  other  authors  who  have 
written  about  the  Amazons  :  most  of  the  Brazilian  ones  are 
buried  in  government  reports  ;  the  others  wrote  journals  of 
travel  and  personal  adventure,  or  historical  notices  of  greater 
or  less  value.  Any  one  who  has  been  obliged  to  wade 
through  this  mass  will  be  glad  enough  to  be  spared  a  re- 
hearsal of  it. 

A  great  step  in  advance  was  made  when  steamboats  were 
placed  on  the  Amazons,  in  1852.  Of  course,  the  line  was  run 
on  a  government  subsidy ;  every  new  enterprise  must  have 
a  subsidy  in  Brazil.  But  since  the  first  one  was  started, 
independent  lines  have  sprung  up,  and  they  have  succeeded 
very  well.  At  first,  the  river  merchants  declined  to  submit 
to  the  innovation  ;  they  shipped  their  rubber  and  cacao  by 
canoes  as  before,  until  they  learned  that  the  steamboats 
could  take  them  at  half  the  expense  and  in  a  quarter  of  the 
time  ;  so  the  old  canoe  traffic  was  given  up,  new  trading 
centres  were  formed  along  the  river,  and  the  steamboats 
became  a  necessity  as  much  as  they  are  on  the  Hudson. 

In  1867  Brazil  opened  the  Amazons  to  all  flags — made  it, 
in  fact,  a  free  highway,  like  the  ocean.  But  she  forgot  to 
take  away  the  heavier  burden  of  her  export  duties,  and  she 
could  not  give  a  population  to  attract  commerce.  It  was  a 
great  step  in  advance,  but  a  step  that  will  be  felt  in  the 
future  more  than  in  our  day.  Very  few  foreign  ships  come 
here  now  ;  why  should  they  come  to  these  deserts  ? 

Yet  it  is  no  wonder  that  Brazilians  proudly  call  the  Ama- 
zons the  Mediterranean  of  America.  Not  alone  for  the  main 
stream  ;  the  great  branches  spread  their  arteries  in  all  direc- 
tions, navigable  often  for  hundreds  of  miles.     And  so   the 


great  stream  flows  on,  through  the  richest  region  on  earth,  yet 
the  least  known  ;  where  tropical  heats  are  tempered  by  the 
refreshing  trade-winds,  and  the  cHmate  is  wholesome  almost 
everywhere  ;  where  all  nature  seems  to  invite  man  to  come, 
yet  the  region  of  all  others  that  man  has  forsaken — a  glorious 
desert,  an  overflowing  wilderness. 

Will  the  regeneration  come  soon  ?  Sooner  than  we  look 
for,  maybe.  Brazil  gave  the  signal  by  this  opening  of  the  river 
to  free  navigation.  Bankrupt  Peru  dreams  yet  of  her  railroad 
over  the  Andes  ;  if  she  ever  builds  it,  her  commerce  will  go, 
not  westward  to  the  Pacific,  but  eastward  to  the  Huallaga 
and  Maraiion.  The  Mamore  Railroad  is  surveyed  around  the 
falls  of  the  Madeira.  It  may  be  abandoned  for  the  present ; 
even  if  it  is  built  now  it  will  not  be  a  paying  enterprise  for 
many  years  ;  but  some  time  it  must  become  an  achieved  fact, 
and  Bolivia  will  look  back  with  wonder  on  her  mule-train 
commerce.  Colombia  has  had  commissioners  at  work  ex- 
ploring the  lea,  and  steamboats  have  penetrated  from  Para 
almost  to  her  capital.  These  are  but  signs ;  and  in  South 
America  the  march  of  improvement  is  slow.  But,  be  it  soon 
or  late,  the  destiny  of  the  Amazons  is  sure.  Even  the  Darien 
ship-canal,  if  it  is  ever  made,  cannot  compete  with  this  straight, 
deep  channel  for  the  trade  of  the  western  republics. 



THERE  are  white  breakers  on  the  Braganca  shoal ;  wind 
from  the  northeast,  and  three  thousand  miles  of  ocean 
vigor  in  its  puffs.  It  slaps  the  waves  into  foam,  and  showers 
salt  spray  in  your  face,  sweeps  up  the  beaches  and  away 
through  the  dark  forest  and  over  the  continent  to  the  snow- 
caps  on  the  other  side.  Trade-wind,  forsooth  !  Play-wind, 
race-wind,  wake-up-wind,  pitch-and-tumble-wind  ;  you  pace 
the  deck  and  stop  every  minute  to  draw  a  longer  breath  of  it. 
So  you  get  your  portion  of  life  from  this  air,  as  some  hun- 
dred thousand  trees  are  getting  theirs  on  every  square  mile 
of  the  great  plain.  Give  it  yet  another  name  :  life-wind. 
The  trees  are  waving  and  nodding  in  the  fulness  of  their 
quiet  joy  ;  out  here  the  surf  gleams,  and  the  gulls  are  whirl- 
ing about  in  our  wake,  and  you  and  I  at  the  mouth  of  the 
Para  river  are  enjoying  it  all. 

There  is  a  line  of  forest  to  the  south,  with  sand-beaches 
here  and  there  ;  to  the  north,  only  a  blank  horizon  ;  for  this 
channel  is  thirty  miles  wide  ;  only  far  up,  the  shores  of  Marajo 
come  in  sight,  another  line  of  woods,  just  visible.  Truth  to 
tell,  the  Para  is  no  more  a  river  than  Delaware  bay  is  ;  it  is 
simply  the  broad  estuary  mouth  of  the  Tocantins.  With  that, 
and  the  Guama,  and  what  it  may  get  from  the  Amazons,  it 



has  just  enough  of  clay-stained  water  to  tinge  the  sea  a  Httle, 
outside  of  Braganca. 

It  is  deep,  and  unobstructed  in  the  main  channel.  The 
tide  sweeps  in  and  out,  four  miles  an  hour  in  some  places  ; 
sailing  vessels  must  wait  for  it,  rolling  about  beyond  the 
bar.  There  is  a  queer  little  tub-like  light-ship  ;  for  the  rest, 
nothing  but  red-sailed  fishing  vessels  or  pilot-boats,  and 
the  forest  line,  growing  more  distinct  as  we  near  it.  After 
awhile  we  can  distinguish  a  few  tile-roofed  buildings  on  the 
shore — brick-works,  many  of  them,  or  farm-houses,  with  rows 
of  cocoanut  palms  and  bright  green  banana  plants,  and 
orange  groves  behind.  The  larger  houses  have  little  white 
chapels  before  them,  and  a  cross  by  the  water-side  ;  the 
thatched  huts  may  belong  to  Indian  or  mulatto  fishermen. 
Near  the  city  the  channel  is  narrowed  by  islands — and  such 
islands  !  All  glorious  they  are  with  regal  palms  and  tangled 
vines  and  tall  forest  trees.  Then  there  is  the  little  round 
cheese-box   fort,    in    seeing    which    we    speculate    curiously 

The  Fort,  Para. 

whether  the  big  gun  on  the  parapet  would  be  more  danger- 
ous to  a  hostile  ship  or  to  the  walls  themselves  :  and  we 
come  to  anchor  three  miles  below  Para. 

A  city,  this  is,  with  a  manifest  destiny  :  a  city  of  the 
future,  that  shall  yet  enrich  the  world  with  its  commerce. 
Some  time — who  knows — it  may  be  the  true  metropolis  of 
Brazil.     I  can  suppose  that.      Rio  de  Janeiro  is  far  removed 

36  BRAZIL. 

from  the  commercial  world,  a  good  five  thousand  miles  from 
New  York,  and  farther  from  Europe.  Para  is  nearer  by 
almost  half  that  distance  ;  if  it  has  not  the  harbor  of  Rio,  it 
has  what  the  southern  city  lacks — splendid  water-communi- 
cation straight  through  the  heart  of  the  continent  ;  and  this 
valley,  if  people  did  but  know  it,  is  the  richest  part  of  South 
America.  Para  has  her  title  of  nobility  :  by  her  situation 
she  is  queen  of  the  Amazons. 

The  city  looks  unimportant  enough  from  the  river  ;  a  row 
of  white-  and  yellow-washed  warehouses  along  the  water- 
front ;  the  ancient-looking  custom-house  ;  and,  rising  over 
all,  the  square  towers  of  two  or  three  churches.  Rampant 
swamp-forest  draws  close  in  on  either  side,  as  if  it  would  re- 
claim its  royal  domain  and  bury  the  town  in  green  glories  ; 
turbid  water  sweeps  angrily  around  the  point,  and  the  score 
or  two  of  vessels  lying  before  it  tug  at  their  anchors  and  rock 
uneasily.  We  sit  on  deck  and  watch  the  great  purple  storm- 
clouds  piling  themselves  up  in  the  eastern  sky,  and  the  sun- 
touched  towers  sharply  outlined  against  them — purple  pas- 
sion-robes for  this  tropic  queen.  And  we  dream  of  white- 
sailed  vessels  bearing  to  all  climes  the  wealth  of  the  Amazons 
and  the  Andes;  rows  of  stately  warehouses,  and  pillared  man- 
sions, and  parks  that  shall  eclipse  all  art  in  their  splendor  of 
tropical  vegetation.  But  then — so  it  goes  with  dreams — the 
purple  clouds  change  to  black  and  send  down  a  deluge  of 
rain  over  the  ship,  hiding  our  sunset  towers  and  dissolving 
our  air-castles. 

There  are  no  piers,  except  the  small  ones  of  the  Amazo- 
nian Steamboat  Company.  Freight  is  landed  in  lighters,  and 
passengers  and  luggage  are  taken  ashore  in  boats,  whereof 
there  is  a  small  fleet,  manned  by  exceedingly  dirty  Portuguese 
boatmen  ;  you  pay  from  one  dollar  to  ten,  according  to  the 

PARA.  .  n 

state  of  the  tides  and  your  o\v^n  state  of  greenness.  However, 
our  deep-draught  steamer  has  to  anchor  so  far  below  the 
town  that  it  would  be  a  long  pull  for  the  men  and  the  pas- 
sengers' purses ;  so  a  steam-launch  is  arranged  for  us  all. 
We  leave  the  good  City  of  Rio  de  Janeiro  a  little  loath,  for 
it  has  grown  home-like  during  our  voyage  ;  we  are  proud  of 
the  ship  as  a  splendid  specimen  of  American  skill,  and  proud 
of  Captain  Weir  and  his  officers  as  American  sailors  and  gen- 

We  move  up  the  river  in  the  rich  morning  sunshine,  land- 
ing at  the  custom-house  wharf,  where  all  foreign  baggage 
must  be  examined.  Climbing  the  oozy,  half-ruined  stairs, 
we  pause  curiously  at  the  top  to  catch  our  first  impressions 
of  the  city.  There  is  a  little  pagoda-shaped  building  on  the 
wharf,  with  sleekly  dressed  custom-house  officials  sitting  by 
the  door.  Grouped  around  are  negro  porters,  cartmen  with 
red  sashes  about  their  waists,  rough- looking  sailors,  women 
with  trays  of  oranges,  diminutive  horses  and  donkeys  drag- 
ging two-wheeled  carts — a  rich  tropical  picture  in  a  glowing 
frame  of  sunshine.  And  now  we  notice  that  the  sun  makes 
itself  felt  less  in  heat  than  in  light.  The  temperature  is  not 
oppressively  high  ;  a  New  Yorker,  transported  to  Para  in 
August,  would  call  it  refreshing  ;  but,  blazing  and  quivering 
in  the  air,  streaming  down  through  every  alley,  flooding 
streets  and  house-tops,  comes  the  dazzling  white  light.  Red 
and  yellow  colors  are  painful  ;  shadows  are  dark  pits  cut  out 
of  the  ground,  and  an  object  in  the  shade  is  defined  only  by 
vivid  degrees  of  blackness.  It  takes  a  long  time  for  the  eyes 
to  accustom  themselves  to  this  superabundance  of  sunshine. 

The  custom-house  is  an  immense  stone  structure  with 
two  great  towers  at  the  end,  recalling  its  ancient  glories.  It 
was  formerly  a  convent,  but,  by  the  decay  and  final  extinc- 



tion  in  Para  of  the  order  that  tenanted  It,  the  building  re- 
verted to  the  government  and  was  turned  over  to  its  present 
uses  ;  only  the  little  chapel  is  still  reserved  for  religious  pur- 
poses. The  walls  are  all  blackened  with  mildew,  and  clusters 
of  weeds  grow  about  the  tile-roof;  within,  the  long,  dark 
corridors  and  massive  pillars  stand  in  stern  contrast  to  the 
piles  of  barrels  and  boxes  and  crates  of  wine.  The  walls  may 
have  their  dark  secrets  ;  many  a  noble  life  has  burned  itself 
out  in  these  old  convents.     But  our  baggage  inspector  does 

At  the  Custom-house. 

not  concern  himself  about  that ;  he  glances  through  his  gold- 
rimmed  spectacles  with  a  critical  eye  for  our  trunks  and  va- 
lises, and  brings  up  no  pictures  of  gray-robed  monks  and 
penitential  tears. 

Speaking  from  my  own  experience,  I  have  nothing  to  say 
against  the  Brazilian  custom-house  official,  who  is  courteous 
enough,  though  with  a  consuming  sense  of  his  own  impor- 
tance, developed  precisely  in  inverse  proportion  to  his  rank 
in  the  service.     Some   travellers   appear  to   think  that  they 

PARA.  39 

cannot  pass  the  Brazilian  frontier  without  bribing  the  officers. 
This  is  unjust.  In  all  my  travels  I  never  paid  out  a  milreis 
in  that  way,  and  never  had  occasion  to.  A  little  quiet  polite- 
ness is  all  that  is  required.  But  then,  in  larger  matters  the 
custom-houses  are  as  bad  as  similar  establishments  are  the 
world  over,  and  with  the  added  stupidity  of  these  petty  offi- 
cers to  make  them  worse.  Cases  of  dishonesty  are  common 
enough,  and  illegal  extortion  is  allowed  more  or  less  all 
through  Brazil.  Probably  the  Para  alfandega  is  as  good  as 
any  ;  some  of  its  rulers,  I  know,  are  excellent  men  ;  but,  even 
at  the  best,  there  are  endless  delays  and  troubles,  and  possible 
loss,  for  any  one  who  has  goods  to  bring  through. 

From  the  custom-house,  passing  the  line  of  stately  royal 
palms  by  the  water-side,  we  stroll  down  the  Riia  da  Inipera- 
triz.  It  is  a  broad,  well-paved  street,  with  rows  of  prim- 
looking  white  and  yellow  buildings,  two  and  three  stories 
high  ;  tall,  arched  door-ways,  and  those  ugly  green  doors 
that  are  seen  in  all  tropical  American  cities.  Here  the 
largest  wholesale  houses  are  located — orderly  establishments, 
the  counting-room  and  warehouse  generally  together  on  the 
ground  floor,  while  the  stories  above  may  be  occupied  for 
offices  and  dwellings.  The  proprietor  looks  cool  and  respec- 
table in  his  spotless  white  linen  clothes.  If  we  enter  the 
store  he  will  receive  us  politely,  but  in  business  hours  he  is 
not  given  to  wasting  time  in  words  ;  in  financial  matters  we 
will  find  him  careful  and  methodical  —  not  easily  outwitted 
even  by  a  Yankee.  In  large  transactions,  the  Para  merchant 
is  governed,  perhaps,  rather  by  a  wholesome  regard  for  the 
law  than  by  any  abstract  moral  reasoning.  In  retail  busi- 
ness, I  am  bound  to  say  that  he  is  quite  as  reasonable  as  his 
northern  brother.  One  seldom  has  occasion  for  "  beating 
down  "  a  shop-keeper. 

40  BRAZIL. 

On  the  Rua  da  Imper'atriz  we  see  nothing  of  that  con- 
fusion of  boxes  and  bales,  carts  and  wagons,  that  character- 
izes a  northern  wholesale  street.  There  are  a  few  heavy 
carriages,  but  all  burdens  are  carried  on  the  heads  of  Portu- 
guese and  negro  workmen,  or  on  the  ugly  little  two-wheeled 
carts.  One  feature  which  strikes  us  favorably  is  the  absence 
of  that  gaudy  array  of  projecting  signs,  which  is  such  an  eye- 
sore in  a  northern  city.  Instead  of  being  obliged  to  twist 
our  necks,  trying  to  find  a  name  in  the  confusion,  we  see  it 
printed  in  small,  legible  characters  on  the  side  of  the  white 
door- way,  attracting  the  attention  at  once.  But  in  the  neigh- 
boring Riia  dos  Mercadores  the  retail  stores  are  often  cov- 
ered with  kalsomine  patterns,  got  up  with  an  artistic  eye  to 
the  possibilities  of  ugliness,  and  with  whole  advertisements 
printed  on  them.  This  Rua  dos  Mercadores  may  be  called 
the  fashionable  shopping  street,  though  the  phrase  seems 
misapplied  in  a  place  where  ladies  hardly  ever  enter  a  store. 
During  the  morning  hours  it  is  very  lively,  and  not  unpictur- 
esque.  The  dry-goods  merchants  hang  bright-colored  cloths 
and  hammocks  about  their  doors,  and  some  of  them  have 
their  shop-fronts  decorated  with  gorgeous  banners  or  huge 
gilt  devices.  Horse-cars  (mule-cars,  rather,)  run  through  the 
street,  and  are  generally  well  filled  with  pleasure-seekers  go- 
ing to  Nazareth,  or  business  men  coming  from  their  houses. 
Looking  down  to  the  Largo  do  Palacio,  you  see  the  gray 
cathedral  towers  in  the  background  rising  above  the  low 
buildings  of  the  street. 

The  shops  themselves  are  small,  but  well  stocked  ;  the 
different  branches  of  trade  occupying  separate  establish- 
ments, as  in  a  northern  town.  The  scale  of  prices  is  in- 
structive. French  broadcloths,  silks  and  woollen  goods  are 
nearly,  or  quite,  as   cheap  as   in  the  United  States  ;   cotton 

PARA.  41 

cloths,  shoes,  cutlery,  etc.,  range  from  fifty  to  a  hundred 
per  cent,  higher ;  glass  and  wooden  wares  are  abomina- 
bly dear;  while  coffee,  sugar  and  cotton,  which  the  country 
ought  to  produce  in  surplus,  cost  more  than  at  home. 
Books  and  paper  are  high-priced  and  of  very  inferior  manu- 

But  the  tropical  side  of  Para  commerce  is  seen  in  the 
market.  We  must  visit  it  before  the  sun  is  high,  for  it  is 
almost  deserted  later  in  the  day.  It  occupies  nearly  a  whole 
block  ;  approaching  on  the  side  of  the  Rita  da  luiperatriz 
we  see  nothing  remarkable  about  the  exterior,  which  is  much 
like  the  v/hitewashed  stores  around  it  ;  only,  gathered  about 
the  high,  arched  door-way,  there  are  groups  of  noisy  ne- 
gresses,  some  of  them  with  trays  of  fruit  which  they  are 
retailing  to  passers-by — piles  of  glossy  oranges,  bunches  of 
yellow  bananas  and  plantains,  fragrant  pineapples  and  the 
less  familiar  mangoes  and  alligator-pears.  Their  business 
involves  an  immense  amount  of  wrangling,  but  we  can  forget 
that  in  the  artistic  effect  of  the  scene,  the  unconscious  grace 
of  attitude,  and  the  richness  of  contrasted  color  in  fruit  and 
dress  and  shining  black  faces.  Passing  these,  we  enter  the 
main  building — a  long,  tile-roofed  corridor,  running  around 
a  square  court,  towards  which  it  is  everywhere  open.  The 
meat  and  fish-stalls  are  in  this  court.  The  corridor  is  lined 
with  stands  for  the  sale  of  fruit,  vegetables,  tobacco,  and 
cheap  trinkets. 

So  much  for  the  building  ;  but  the  scene  within  is  inde- 
scribable ;  it  is  not  so  much  one  picture  as  a  hundred,  all 
melting  into  one  another,  and  changing  and  rechanging  like 
the  colors  of  a  kaleidoscope.  Not  like  a  street  scene  with  its 
rapid  movement ;  nobody  is  in  a  hurry,  but  hardly  anybody 
is  still ;   as  if  the  whole  visible  world  were  in  a  chronic  state 

42  BRAZIL. 

of  sauntering.  And  we  saunter  along  with  the  rest,  watch- 
ing the  animated  groups  around  us. 

Standing  here,  we  can  get  the  background  of  that  fruit- 
stand,  with  its  heaped-up  purple  and  gold.  The  coatless 
and  barefooted  fruit-sellers  glance  at  us  curiously  as  they  wait 
on  their  customers — servant-girls,  for  the  most  part,  who 
have  been  sent  to  fill  their  baskets  with  oranges  and  bana- 
nas. Here  comes  a  dark-skinned  Diana — a  stately  mulatto 
woman,  with  her  crimson  skirt  gathered  in  picturesque  folds 
at  the  waist,  and  her  white  chemise  falling  away  negligently 
from  one  shoulder ;  her  fine  face  is  set  to  an  expression  of 
infinite  scorn,  of  withering  contempt  too  deep  for  words. 
To  be  sure,  all  this  acting  is  occasioned  by  a  difference  of 
three  or  four  cents  in  the  price  of  a  string  of  beads,  and  the 
villanous-looking  Portuguese  gimcrack-seller  who  is  the  ob- 
ject of  her  wrath  only  laughs  diabolically,  and  makes  himself 
look  a  degree  uglier  than  before  ;  soon  she  catches  sight  of 
an  acquaintance,  and  her  scorn  melts  into  a  broad  grin. 
So  the  two  stroll  away  together,  chattering  as  only  these 
women  can. 

That  dark,  handsome  fellow,  daintily  sipping  his  paper 
cigar,  is  a  maineluco — so  Brazilians  call  a  cross  between  the 
Indian  and  white  races.  Something  of  the  flashing  Lusita- 
nian  fire  he  has,  shining  through  the  indolent  grace  of  his  ges- 
tures ;  much  of  the  half-savage  independence  of  his  brown 
ancestors  ;  but  the  mixture  is  tempered  neither  by  the  intel- 
ligence of  the  white  nor  the  docility  of  the  brown  races  ;  the 
mameliicos  bear  a  deservedly  hard  name  on  the  Amazons. 

Squatted  on  the  stone  pavement  is  a  toothless  old  crone, 
half  Indian,  half  mulatto,  with  a  pot  of  yellow  mingaic  soup 
— a  preparation  of  tapioca  and  bananas.  Her  customers — 
mostly  Portuguese   cartmen  and  sailors — receive   their  por- 

PARA.  43 

tions  in  black  calabashes,  and  swallow  the  mixture  with 
evident  gusto,  gossiping,  meanwhile,  with  one  another,  or 
exchanging  not  over-delicate  remarks  with  the  negro  and 
mulatto  servant-girls  who  pass  them.  These  latter  bring 
pails  and  earthen  pans  on  their  heads,  and  a  little  farther  on 
we  see  a  score  of  them  grouped  about  a  butcher's  stall ;  the 
new-comers  set  their  pans  on  the  counter  and  produce  little 
bundles  of  copper  money  ;  the  butcher  cuts  the  meat  into 
shapeless  chunks  and,  by  some  feat  of  calculation,  flings  to 
each  a  share  apportioned  to  the  money  she  brought ;  and 
the  purchaser  marches  away  with  the  pan  of  meat  balanced 
on  her  head,  her  tongue  running  the  while  like  a  Chinese 
rattle.  All  the  marketing  is  done  in  this  way,  through  the 
medium  of  servants. 

Observe  these  baskets  of  black  berries,  like  grapes  in 
color  and  size  ;  they  are  the  fruit  of  the  Assai  palm,  the 
slender,  graceful  EtUerpe  that  we  saw  on  the  river-banks. 
One  sometimes  hears  an  alliterative  proverb  : 

^'  Ouem  veiu  para  Para  parou  ; 
Ouem  bebeu  Assai  ficou  :  " 

which  we  may  translate,  as  Mrs.  Agassiz  has  done  : 

*'  Who  came  to  Para  was  glad  to  stay  ; 
Who  drank  assai  went  never  away." 

It  is  well,  then,  for  us  to  learn  how  this  famous  viiiho  d' assai 
is  made. 

In  a  dark  little  shed  at  the  back  of  the  court,  two  mulatto 
women  are  rubbing  off  the  black  pulp  of  the  berries  in  great 
bowls  of  water,  crushing  them  vigorously  with  their  bare 
hands,  and  purpling  their  arms  with  the  chocolate-like  juice. 
After  the  first  batch  has  been  rubbed  out,  the  Hquid  is  de- 
canted from  the  hard  nuts  to  another  lot  of  berries  ;   these 



latter  being  treated  in  like  manner,  the  resulting  thick  soup 
is  strained  through  a  wicker-work  sieve  and  dealt  out  to  the 
eager  customers. 

Yes,  the  Americajios  will  have  assai,  coin  assucar ;  so  the 
little  shirtless  son  scampers  off  after  sugar.  Ordinary  cus- 
tomers at  the  stand  are  of  the  lower  classes,  who  drink  their 
two  cents'  worth  of  assai  with  only  a  little  mandioca  meal 
by  way  of  seasoning.      In  the  forest,  where  sugar  was  scarce 

Tne  Assai'  Stand. 

and  the  fruit  plenty,  I  learned  to  like  it  quite  as  well  so  my- 
self ;  its  brisk,  nutty  flavor  is  rather  spoiled  by  the  sweet- 
ening. However,  our  new-comers  may  prefer  the  civilized 
side  ;  so  the  sugar  is  added,  and  we  dip  our  moustaches 
into  the  rich  liquid.  Even  the  squeamish  ones  empty  their 
bowls,  and  begin  to  suggest  to  themselves  the  possibility  of 
entertaining  another  half-pint.  Now  talk  no  more  of  sherbet, 
and  ginger-beer,  and  soda-water  ;  hereafter  we  abjure  them 

PARA.  45 

all,  if  we  may  but  have  our  purple  assai.  And  observe — as 
Mr.  Weller  has  it — that  "  it's  wery  fillin'."  One  can  make  a 
respectable  lunch  of  Assai  alone. 

Back  of  the  market,  by  the  water-side,  there  are  other 
picturesque  scenes.  Here  are  numbers  of  canoes  drawn  up 
on  the  shore,  the  larger  ones  with  a  little  cabin  of  palm- 
thatch  or  boards  in  the  stern.  The  Indian  and  mulatto 
boatmen,  for  the  most  part,  are  selling  their  produce  on 
shore,  and  some  of  them,  no  doubt,  are  getting  beastly 
drunk  on  the  proceeds  ;  the  canoes,  meanwhile,  are  occu- 
pied by  their  families,  and  one  cannot  help  noting  the 
marked  difference  of  character  displayed  by  the  two  races. 
The  flashily  dressed  negresses  and  mulattoes  are  chattering 
and  quarrelling  at  the  tops  of  their  voices,  while  their  not 
over-clean  children  tumble  about  on  the  muddy  shore, 
laughing,  screaming,  crying,  as  the  case  may  be,  but  always 
making  a  noise  of  some  kind.  The  Indian  women,  on  the 
contrary,  are  very  quiet,  sitting  still  in  the  canoes,  and  per- 
haps carrying  on  a  subdued  conversation.  They  are  dark  ; 
not  copper-colored,  like  our  Northern  tribes,  but  of  a  clear, 
rich  brown.  Some  of  the  younger  ones  are  decidedly  hand- 
some, and  almost  all  are  exquisitely  neat  in  their  tasty,  light- 
colored  calico  dresses,  sometimes  Avith  simple  ornaments. 
The  children — little  ones  are  dressed  ait  naturel — are  shin- 
ing and  clean  and  sleek,  and  always  very  quiet.  You  notice, 
also,  that  the  brown  people  avoid  the  sun,  but  the  black 
ones  seem  to  revel  in  it."^ 

■^  One  is  reminded  of  Captain  John  Codman's  observation:  "When  a  white 
fireman  on  a  steamer  comes  up  from  his  watch,  he  always  leans  over  the  rail  in  the 
shade,  where  he  can  get  the  air  ;  but  the  negro  fireman  comes  up  at  noonday,  under 
a  vertical  sun,  and  throws  himself  down  to  sleep  on  a  deck  that  would  blister  a 
rhinoceros."  Ten  Months  in  Brazil,  p.  8i.  The  Indians  are  much  more  suscep- 
tible to  heat  than  the  whites  are. 



Many  of  these  Indians  have  come  from  surrounding  rivers, 
a  hundred,  two  hundred,  occasionally  even  five  or  six  hun- 
dred miles  away.  Most  of  them  will  sell  their  small  cargoes 
and  leave  with  the  return  tide.  The  women  and  children  will 
see  nothing  more  of  the  city  than  is  visible  from  the  water, 
or,  at  most,  they  will  be  treated  to  an  hour's  walk  about  the 
town,  or  a  visit  to  one  of  the  churches.  And  that  is  enough. 
They  do   not  care   to   remain   longer  among  the  sweltering 

The   Market  Wharf. 

streets  and  glaring  white  walls.  They  long  for  their  cool, 
shady  forests,  where  they  can  swing  their  cotton  hammocks 
by  the  water-side,  and  lounge  away  the  hot  noon  hours,  as 
free  from  care  as  the  birds  are  above  them. 

Besides  the  small  canoes,  there  are  many  larger  ones,  be- 
longing to  traders,  who  make  long  voyages  on  the  upper 
rivers.      They  bring  back  forest    produce  which   they  have 

PARA.  47 

received  in  exchange  for  their  wares.  Here  are  bales  of 
crude  rubber,  in  flask-shaped  masseS;  as  it  came  from  the 
moulds ;  tall  baskets  of  mandioca-meal,  the  bread  of  the  poorer 
classes ;  bundles  of  dried  salt  piraruai  fish  ;  bags  of  cacao 
and  Brazil-nuts.  There  are  turtles,  too,  reposing  peacefully 
on  their  backs,  and  odd-looking  fish,  and  pots  of  crabs  and 
shrimps.  Not  a  few  of  the  canoes  bring  monkeys  and  par- 
rots, but  their  owners  are  loath  to  part  with  these.  On  the 
Amazons  all  classes  are  extravagantly  fond  of  pets. 

Formerly  all  the  commerce  of  the  river  was  carried  on  in 
trading  canoes.  Now  the  steamboats  have  taken  their  place, 
trading  centres  have  been  established  at  various  points  along 
the  river,  and  the  canoes  make  shorter  voyages.  We  can  see 
the  busy  wharf  of  the  Amazonian  Steamboat  Company  from 
our  breakfast-room  at  the  Hotel  do  Commercio,  and  two  or 
three  of  their  vessels  are  lying  in  the  river ;  they  make  voy- 
ages, at  longer  or  shorter  intervals,  to  the  Madeira,  Purus, 
and  Tapajos ;  twice  a  month  passage  can  be  engaged  to 
Manaos,  and  from  thence  other  lines  extend  their  trips  almost 
to  the  base  of  the  Andes.  There  are  several  smaller  compa- 
nies, but  they  are  all  thrown  into  the  shade  by  this  rich 
Amazonian  line,  with  its  numerous  branches.  It  has  a  large 
siibsidy  from  the  government — too  much,  probably,  for  its 
wants,  now  that  the  enterprise  is  well  established. 

The  beauty  of  the  river-view  is  not  heightened  by  the  fore- 
ground— a  bare,  muddy  space  half  filled  in  to  a  wall  along  the 
river.  This  wall  was  built— how  many  years  ago  I  know  not 
— with  the  design  of  giving  a  deep  water-frontage  to  the  city ; 
but  the  river  worked  faster  than  the  contractors.  While  they 
were  building,  it  spread  a  great  bed  of  mud  outside  of  the 
wall ;  and  so  in  the  end  there  was  a  bank  there,  uncovered  at 
low  water,  just  as  before.     Meanwhile  the  space  between  the 

48         ,  BRAZIL. 

wall  and  the  old  bank  was  a  muddy  pool,  littered  with  gar- 
bage of  every  kind  ;  it  would  have  bred  a  pestilence  over  the 
whole  city,  but  for  the  daily  washings  it  got  with  the  tides, 
and  the  scavenger  crabs  that  swarmed  in  it.  It  remained  so 
for  many  years,  an  eye-sore  to  the  city  ;  the  provincial  gov- 
ernment could  never  fill  it,  though  the  work  was  almost  al- 
ways under  contract.  Now  it  is  evened  over,  in  great  part; 
but  it  is  useless,  as  we  have  seen,  and  one  does  not  like  to 
think  of  the  money  that  has  been  wasted  on  it.  This  is  only 
a  type  of  the  gross  mismanagement  that  has  disgraced  Para. 
Now  and  then  a  good  and  efficient  president  will  set  his  hand 
to  a  reform,  and  for  a  time  he  will  work  wonders ;  but  sooner 
or  later  he  is  certain  to  be  ousted  by  the  aggrieved  politicians. 
Of  course,  with  the  mismanagement  there  is  often  dishonesty  ; 
scandalous  stories  are  told  of  the  fabulous  sums  that  have  been 
sunk  on  this  or  that  public  work — stories  that  are  strongly  con- 
firmed by  the  impoverished  state  of  the  provincial  treasury, 
and  the  reputed  wealth  of  certain  officials  and  contractors. 

At  Para  one  day  is  like  another.  The  mornings  are  cool 
and  pleasant.  From  ten  till  two  the  heat  increases  rapidly, 
commonly  reaching  90°  or  91°  Fahrenheit.  A  little  later 
great  black  clouds  appear  in  the  east,  spreading  rapidly  over 
the  sky  and  turning  the  intense  glare  to  a  twilight  darkness. 
The  temperature  is  lowered  suddenly;  the  wind  blows  in 
varying  gusts  ;  then  the  rain  comes  pouring  down  in  great 
dense  masses,  flooding  the  streets,  hiding  vessels  on  the  river, 
drenching  unlucky  boatmen  and  their  passengers,  and — ere 
we  know  it,  the  sun  jumps  out,  and  there  is  only  the  van- 
quished cloud-army  flying  into  the  west.  Sometimes  the  first 
shower  is  followed  by  another  one,  and  even  a  third  ;  after 
that  the  clouds  disappear,  or  hang  like  purple  curtains  on  the 
western  horizon.     By  sunset  the  ground  is  dry,  and  all  nature 

PARA.  49 

is  smiling.  This  is  the  rule  all  the  year  round  ;  only  the  wet 
season,  extending  from  January  to  May,  is  distinguished  by 
more  copious  showers,  sometimes  lasting  until  evening,  with 
an  occasional  day  or  night  of  continued  rain  ;  while,  in  the 
height  of  the  dry  season,  a  week  may  pass  without  any 
showers  at  all ;  but  even  then  the  ground  is  watered  by  the 
heavy  dews. 

Para  would  be  a  healthy  city  if  sanitary  rules  were  prop- 
erly observed.  The  streets,  it  is  true,  are  kept  decently  clean, 
but  in  many  of  the  houses  there  are  filthy  courts,  the  recepta- 
cles for  garbage  and  rottenness  of  every  kind  ;  it  is  a  wonder 
that  people  can  live  within  range  of  their  stench.  As  it  is, 
there  are  many  cases  of  typhoid  ;  but  yellow  fever,  though  it 
appears  nearly  every  year,  takes  a  milder  form  than  at  Rio  de 
Janeiro,  and  the  number  of  deaths  from  it  is  not  very  great. 
Sometimes  mtermittent  fevers  are  prevalent.  Pulmonary 
complaints  are  very  uncommon. 

If  we  walk  out  after  ijiidday,  we  find  the  streets  almost 
deserted,  though  the  heat  is  not  excessive.  At  four  o'clock 
the  wholesale  stores  are  closed,  and  the  merchant  goes  home 
to  his  dinner.  Retail  establishments  are  kept  open  until  after 
dark,  but  they  do  little  business. 

The  evenings  are  delightful.  Walking  out  in  the  better 
quarters,  we  find  the  whole  population  out-of-doors;  gentlemen 
sitting  before  their  houses  under  the  mango-trees,  smoking, 
or  sipping  the  after-dinner  coffee,  and  enjoying  themselves 
with  their  families.  The  merest  chance  acquaintance  makes 
us  welcome  at  once  to  these  groups  ;  chairs  are  brought, 
coffee  and  cigars  are  served,  and  we  may  sit  for  an  hour, 
chatting  with  our  host  and  watching  the  groups  around  us. 

Out  of  business  hours  the  Paraense  is  the  most  sociable 
person  you  can  imagine.  Pleasure  is  his  occupation  ;  the 

50  BRAZIL. 

cares  of  his  counting-room  are  all  locked  up  in  the  safe  with 
his  day-books  and  ledgers.  You  get  acquainted  despite  of 
yourself;  everybody  knows  everybody  else,  and  insists  on 
introducing  him.  I  have  found  no  other  Brazilian  city  where 
there  is  so  little  ceremony.  We  see  people  dressed  sensibly 
^in  white  linen  ;  except  on  state  occasions,  the  sweltering 
black  coats  of  the  southern  provinces  are  not  de  I'igiieur  in 
Para.  The  women,  too,  wear  natural  flowers  in  their  hair ; 
but  in  Rio  de  Janeiro  and  Bahia  they  must  needs  disfigure 
themselves  with  abominable  French  bonnets. 

Since  the  establishment  of  hotels,  the  rule  of  universal 
hospitality  is  no  longer  adhered  to,  but  most  of  the  better 
classes  still  keep  open  table  to  their  acquaintances,  at  least 
for  the  late  afternoon  dinner.  People  live  well  and  simply, 
though  with  too  great  a  preference  for  animal  food.  Portu- 
guese or  French  wine  is  generally  served  with  breakfast  and 
dinner,  and  there  is  a  light  dessert  of  fruit. 

In  domestic  life,  many  of  the  old  bigoted  notions  concern- 
ing women  are  still  retained  ;  but  at  Para,  one  no  longer  sees 
ladies  shut  up  from  all  intercourse  with  visitors,  and  banished 
from  the  table.  In  exact  proportion  to  the  advance  of  more 
liberal  ideas,  the  standard  of  private  morals  has  risen  ;  and 
though  there  is  vast  room  for  improvement  in  this  respect, 
though  infidelity  on  the  part  of  the  husband  is  even  now 
looked  upon  as  a  venial  sin,  still  vice  has  no  longer  that  open- 
ness and  unrestrained  license  that  formerly  made  it  painfully 

As  in  Rio  de  Janeiro  the  city  merchant  has  his  chacara  in 
the  outskirts,  so  here  he  has  his  rociiiha* — a  country  dwelling 
in  the  city,  a  house  with  ten  acres  of  back  door-yard.     The 

*  Diminutive  of  roga,  a  clearing.     The  word  is  apparently  a  provincial  one. 

PARA.  51 

finest  rocinhas  are  in  the  suburb  of  Nazareth,  to  reach  which 
we  can  take  the  mule-drawn  cars  that  we  saw  on  the  Rua 
dos  Mercadores.  The  seats  are  well  filled  with  passengers  of 
both  sexes  and  all  colors,  many  of  the  laborers  without  coats 
and  barefooted,  but  clean  and  neat. 

From  the  business  part  of  the  town  we  pass  first  through 
a  series  of  narrow  streets,  where  there  is  hardly  room  for 
passers-by  to  avoid  the  car.  The  streets  are  close  and  dirty 
and  uninteresting  ;  black  mould  spreads  itself  on  the  kalso- 
mined  walls,  and  weeds  hang  over  the  projecting  tile-roofs. 
An  apology  for  a  sidewalk  exists  in  some  places  ;  but  there  are 
so  many  ups  and  downs  to  it  that  pedestrians  generally  prefer 
the  roadway.  We  get  glimpses  of  slovenly  looking  women 
peering  out  from  behind  the  swing-blinds,  and  dirty  children 
disappearing  through  the  open  door-ways  as  the  car  comes 
up  ;  looking  in,  we  see  nothing  but  blank  white  walls  and 
bare  floor.  And  down  into  the  barren  street  the  sun  sends 
its  liquid  gold,  and  casts  black  shadows,  just  as  it  does  in  a 
thousand  other  ugly  places. 

Turning  next  into  the  great  Largo  da  Polvora,  we  pass  on 
by  the  pillared  Theati'o,  one  of  the  finest  of  the  public  build- 
ings, the  white  walls  of  which  are  well  set  off  by  the  heavy 
foliage  behind  them.  As  for  the  LargOy  it  is  a  great,  treeless 
waste,  like  a  dozen  others  in  the  city  ;  but  the  sides  are  lined 
with  magnificent  dark  mango-trees,  and  the  houses  are  of  a 
better  class  than  those  we  have  seen  ;  very  fresh  and  pretty 
some  of  them  are,  with  their  facings  of  glazed  white  and  blue 
tiles.  We  observe  these  tile-facings  in  many  places  along  the 
Riia  de  NazaretJi^  where  we  turn  off  from  the  Largo  ;  decid- 
edly the  prettiest  dwellings  in  the  city  are  here,  and  they  are 
contrasted  with  rows  of  noble  mango-trees,  like  those  of  the 
square.     The  gardens  in  front  of  some  of  the  houses  are  stiff 



and  pedantic,  it  is  true  ;  but  in  this  climate  Nature  gets  the 
better  of  the  gardeners,  and,  despite  them,  will  disport  her- 
self in  glorious  masses  of  foliage  and  bloom  ;  plants,  such  as 
grow  in  our  green-houses  at  home  ;  but  not  the  delicate  nurs- 

The  Theatre,   Para. 

lings  of  the  North  ;  great,  hearty  shrubs,  with  the  vigor  of 
their  forest  homes  fresh  on  them,  and  their  untrammelled 
roots  sinking  a  yard  deep  into  the  rich  loam. 

But  the  gardens  are  tame  compared  to  those  neglected 
rocinhas  where  the  grounds  are  yard,  orchard,  wilderness,  all 
thrown  together  ;  where  flowering  vines  clamber  over  the 
fruit-trees,  and  the  rich  flowers  are  smothered  in  richer 
weeds,  and  rampant  second  growth  threatens  to  annihilate 
the  whole  estate,  as  it  undoubtedly  would,  did  not  the  in- 
habitants make  a  sally  sometimes  with  axes  and  wood-knives. 
I  think  Nature  here  has  a  grudge  against  humanity,  with  its 
angular  houses  and  fences ;  she  wants  to  round  ofl*  every- 
thing to  suit  her  flowing  fancy.  But  if,  instead  of  the  blows 
and  hard  words  she  gets,  she  were  coaxed  and  patted  on  the 
back,  how  she  would  break  out  into  smiles  and  loveliness  ! 

PARA.  53 

Ah,  well !  I  suppose  we  shall  go  on  abusing  her  while  the 
world  lasts  ;  but  she  will  have  her  rights,  for  all  that.  From 
this  primly  dressed  child,  daubing  and  mussing  its  frock  in 
the  gutter,  to  the  tumble-down  houses  of  the  side-streets, 
half  covered  with  moss  and  weeds,  she  is  forever  picking  up 
our  ugly  art  and  turning  it  into  something  picturesque. 
Even  the  new  white  chapel  at  Nazareth  is  getting  its  coating 
of  gray  and  brown  mould,  and  the  artist  will  go  on  painting 
it  with  delicate  touches,  and  rejoicing  in  its  beauty,  till  Vandal 
man  comes  along  with  his  whitewash  brush  and  spoils  the 
work  of  years. 

The  chapel  is  dedicated  to  Nossa  Senhora  de  Nazareth^ 
who  is  not  to  be  confounded  with  Nossa  Senhora  of  anything 
else.  You  see,  this  one  is  remarkable  for  a  miracle  which  she 
performed  in  the  eleventh  century,  when  the  devil,  in  the 
form  of  a  deer,  was  leading  a  noble  hunter  over  a  precipice. 
As  she  saved  the  life  of  the  hunter,  she  is  entitled  to  especial 
regard — may  be  invoked,  for  instance,  in  cases  where  Nossa 
SenJiora  da  Esperanqa  has  given  little  hope,  and  Nossa  Sen- 
hora de  Beleni  has  failed  utterly. 

Our  Lady  of  Nazareth,  then,  is  the  patron  saint  of  Para, 
and  every  year  there  is  a  grand  festival  given  in  her  honor. 
Then  the  city  is  thronged  with  strangers,  often  from  towns 
three  or  four  hundred  miles  away.  Our  Lady  is  carried  in 
solemn  procession  through  the  streets,  and  the  church  is 
daily  filled  with  worshippers.  The  great  square  near  by  is 
lined  with  booths,  and  gay  with  flags  and  transparencies. 
Every  night  there  is  a  display  of  fire-works  ;  costume  dances 
are  extemporized  ;  theatres  with  execrable  actors  attract  the 
public,  especially  on  Sunday  evening,  and  for  a  week  the 
city  is  given  over  to  universal  enjoyment.  People  are  or- 
derly and  quiet.     There  is  less   hard   drinking  than  you  see 

54  BRAZIL. 

on  any  holiday  at  the  North,  and  scarcely  any  quarrelling  and 

I  do  not  think  there  is  a  very  strong  religious  feeling 
either  in  Para  or  in  the  other  Brazilian  cities.  The  more 
ignorant  negroes  and  mulattoes  delight  in  the  brilliant  cere- 
monies of  the  Catholic  Church.  Better  educated  people 
yield  a  discreet  assent  to  the  forms  and  observances,  but 
there  is  very  little  deep  feeling  underlying  their  zeal.  The 
explanation  is  to  be  looked  for  in  the  utterly  corrupt  con- 
dition of  the  clergy.  In  Brazil  a  virtuous  priest  is  the  ex- 
ception. I  do  not  say  that  there  are  none  who  do  their  duty 
with  zeal  and  reverence,  and  practise  their  own  precepts;  but 
the  majority  lead  lives  that  give  the  lie  to  their  preaching, 
and  bring  the  church  into  disrepute  with  all  thinking  men. 

The  present  Bishop  of  Para  is  one  of  those  remarkable 
men  whose  names  will  always  be  landmarks  in  the  history 
of  the  Church.  Pure  in  his  own  life,  he  has  gathered  around 
him  a  body  of  young  priests  who  emulate  the  sacrifices  and 
virtues  of  the  early  Jesuit  missionaries.  I  have  met  these 
young  men  at  Para  and  in  some  of  the  river  towns.  One 
of  them  I  esteem  as  a  personal  friend — a  man  whose  life  is 
above  reproach,  and  whose  scanty  income  is  all  expended 
in  deeds  of  charity  and  kindness.  If  the  bishop  is  to  be 
praised  for  this  work,  he  is  unquestionably  to  be  censured 
for  his  interference  with  political  matters.  The  feeling  is 
rapidly  advancing  in  Brazil  that  church  and  state  must  be 
disunited.  If  the  ecclesiastical  power  meddles  with  the  secu- 
lar one,  there  is  always  strong  comment.  Sometimes  the 
government  resists  the  priests,  and  then  there  is  a  storm, 
often  ending  in  popular  tumults,  as  was  the  case  recently  in 
Pernambuco.  The  bishop  holds,  in  the  fullest  sense,  that  the 
state  should  be  subservient  to  the  church,  and  the  whole  to 

PARA.  55 

the  See  of  Rome.  Hence  he  is  unpopular  with  a  large  class 
of  the  people.  These,  led  by  the  Masonic  brotherhood  —  a 
body  of  great  political  importance  in  Brazil  —  keep  up  a  de- 
termined resistance  to  the  bishop  and  his  party. 

Emphatically,  an  American  need  not  fear  to  express  his 
principles  in  Brazil ;  he  is  protected  as  well  by  public  opin- 
ion as  by  the  government.  Even  the  priests,  who  might  be 
supposed  to  be  intolerant,  will  discuss  theological  differences 
with  the  utmost  good-nature,  and  with  no  small  powers  of 

We  can  visit  the  churches  almost  any  morning,  or  go  to 
hear  high  mass  at  the  Cathedral  on  Sunday.  There  is  more 
glitter  and  ceremony  than  in  our  northern  Catholic  churches. 
Worshippers  stand  and  kneel  on  the  stone  floor,  for  there 
are  no  seats.  The  churches  are  high  and  rather  bare,  except 
around  the  altar.  One  sees  three  or  four  conspicuous  life- 
size  figures  of  saints,  which,  on  certain  days,  are  carried 
through  the  streets  in  procession,  with  ringing  of  bells  and 
firing  of  rockets,  attended  by  red  and  green  coated  brother- 
hoods, and  dainty  little  child-angels  with  spangled  dresses  and 
gauze  wings.  For  the  rest,  religion  involves  nothing  more 
than  an  occasional  visit  to  the  confessional,  and  pretty  liberal 
contributions  to  the  church  treasury  and  to  the  poor. 

Aside  from  the  churches  and  the  custom-house,  we  shall 
find  little  to  interest  us  in  the  public  buildings.  The  presi- 
dent's palace  is  a  great,  glaring,  barrack-like  structure,  look- 
ing out  on  one  of  the  squares.  Within,  it  is  richly  furnished, 
but  with  that  stiffness  and  lack  of  ornament  that  characterize 
all  Brazilian  dwellings.  The  episcopal  palace  is  still  worse  ; 
jammed  in  among  the  surrounding  buildings,  it  looks  like  a 

It    is    a    pity   that    the    Paracuses    have  left  their   public 



squares  the  weed-grown  wastes  that  they  are.  Only  in  some 
of  them  there  are  picturesque  wells,  and,  of  a  sunny  day, 
when  our  walks  take  us  past  these,  we  see  groups  of  noisy 
washerwomen  drawing  water  over  the  curb,  and  spreading 
their  clothes  on  the  grass  to  dry.  There  are  no  water-works 
aside  from  these  wells.  Water  is  hawked  about  the  town  in 
great  hogsheads  set  on  ox-carts  and  attended  by  rough-look- 
ing Gallegos*  with  red  scarfs  and  glazed  hats.      As  for  milk. 

The  Washerwoman — Para. 

that  is  carried  around  by  the  cow,  who,  with  her  bleating 
calf  tied  to  her  tail,  is  driven  from  door  to  door  and  milked 
in  sight  of  the  customers.  Of  course,  under  these  circum- 
stances, watered  milk  is  unknown. 

There  are  a  hundred  other  odd  characters  in  the  streets  ; 
bakers  with  great  baskets   of  bread  ;  negro  women   selling 

*  A  term  of  reproach,  originating  in  the  hatred  of  the  Portuguese  for  the  Span- 
iard, and  especially  for  the  natives  of  Gallicia. 



sweetmeats,  or  pots  of  assai,  or  tapioca  soup;  porters  carry- 
ing heavy  trunks  on  their  heads,  and  so  on.  Ladies  buy 
their  dresses  by  samples  carried  around  from  house  to  house. 
Servants  pass  by  with  a  dinner  or  supper  nicely  laid  out  on 
a  tray  :  it  is  the  custom  here  ;  if  you  engage  board  with  a 
family,  the  meals  are  brought  to  your  room. 

When  we  have  "done"  the  streets,  and  the  dirty  little 
wine-shops,  and  the  animal  store,  with  its  monkeys  and  wild 

"  Monkey  Joe's." 

hogs  and  boa-constrictors  and  electric  eels,  we  have  yet  the 
never-failing  beauty  of  vegetation  in  the  outskirts.  Every- 
thing seems  buried  in  green  ;  here  is  a  ruined  house,  for 
instance — a  wonderful  picture,  enshrouded  in  flowering  vines 
until  hardly  a  beam  or  a  square  inch  of  wall  is  visible  ;  a 
rolling,  tumbling,  roUicking  mass  of  foliage  ;   the  very  ruin 

58  BRAZIL. 

seems  to  catch  the  infection,  passing  its  last  days  in  a  kind 
of  tottering  hilarity.  And  so  it  is  with  everything  on  which 
this  rampant  plant-life  can  get  a  hold  ;  palings,  stumps, 
heaps  of  rubbish,  are  all  draped  and  curtained  and  padded 
with  vines  and  weeds,  till  their  rough  angularities  have  dis- 
appeared under  the  soft  curves,  as  you  have  seen  a  pile  of 
sticks  covered  with  snow. 

The  Monguba  avenue  has  lost  much  of  its  ancient  glory  ; 
the  trees,  for  some  reason,  are  dying,  and  no  care  is  taken  to 
renew  them.  But  the  Estrada  de  Sao  Jose  more  than  fills 
its  place.  There  is  something  so  wonderful  in  the  stately 
simplicity  of  palm-trees,  and  these  royal  palms*  are  among 
the  most  beautiful  of  their  tribe.  Looking  down  the  long 
avenue,  we  see  the  feathery  tops  almost  meeting  overhead, 
and  quivering  with  the  lightest  breath  of  wind,  lending, 
somehow,  a  kind  of  dignity  to  the  tapering  stems,  which  do 
not  sway  as  other  trees  do,  even  in  a  storm. 

We  can  follow  out  this  road  to  the  gas-works,  and  back  of 
that  to  the  wet  ground  near  the  river  ;  there  the  second  growth 
is  one  tangled  mass,  with  palms  and  vines  and  great  glossy 
Arums  by  the  water-side  ;  not  the  little  arrow-heads  of  our 
brooks,  but  trees,  with  leaves  a  foot  long  and  almost  as  broad, 
like  polished  shields  among  the  vines  that  clamber  over  them. 

But  the  most  beautiful  suburban  road  is  that  leading 
north  from  the  city  to  the  river  Una.  If  you  would  see  it  at 
its  best,  avoid  the  hot  hours  ;  come  in  the  cool  morning, 
when  the  leaves  are  fresh,  and  all  the  world  of  insect  and 
bird-life  is  out  to  bathe  in  the  early  sunshine.  Beyond  the 
narrow  streets  we  find  a  broad,  straight  road,  with  deep 
ditches,  and  palings  on  either  side  ;    the  ditches  almost  invisi- 

*  Oreodoxa  regia  :  an  imported  species. 



ble  in  the  heaped-up  masses  of  plants  that  cover  them,  and 
every  yard  of  the  palings  an  exquisite  picture.  The  roci- 
iihas  are  far  back  from  the  road — long,  low  buildings,  some- 
times with  the  tile-roof  projecting  on  all  sides,  to  form  a 
broad  veranda  ;  the  yards  all  weedy  and  tangled  and  glori- 
ous, half  hiding  the 
whitewashed  walls. 
Of  the  fifty  kinds  of 
vines,  the  most  con- 
spicuous here  are 
Convolvidi^  some  of 
them  very  like  our 
morning-glories  ; 
here  and  there  we 
notice  a  cypress-vine 
peeping  out  from 
among  the  others, 
the  same  pretty,  ten- 
der thing  that  it  is  at 
home.  Where  the 
vines  give  them 
space, there  are  great, 
sprawling  Lantana  weeds,  and  Solanacece,  allied  to  our  pota- 
toes, but  these  stand  bolt  upright,  ten  or  twelve  feet  high, 
and  their  great  pale  leaves  have  scattered  spines  over  the 
surface.  For  the  rest,  there  are  sensitive  mimosa-bushes, 
like  brambles,  and  arums  along  the  ditches,  and  a  host  of 
other  plants,  small  and  large,  that  I  do  not  even  know  the 
names  of;  all  heaped  over  each  other  and  rolled  into  beautiful 
masses,  a  delight  to  the  eye. 

Farther  on,  the  houses  disappear  almost  entirely; — are  lost 
in  the  thickets,  perhaps,  and  the  people  only  find  them  by 

Estrada  de  Sao  Jos^. 

6o  BRAZIL. 

these  little  crooked  paths.  There  are  low,  swampy  tracts  by 
the  roadside,  and  second  growth,  with  the  vines  everywhere; 
not  clambering  up  the  tree-trunks  merely — burying  them, 
spreading  in  great  masses  over  the  tops,  hanging  down  in 
splendid  green  curtains,  binding  tree  to  tree  so  that  you  can- 
not see  a  foot  into  the  woods.  Here  and  there  an  assai  palm,* 
or  a  miriti^^  or  an  inajd,  \  rises  out  of  the  drift  and  spreads 
its  great  glossy  leaves  to  the  sun  ;  the  vines  avoid  palm-stems, 
perhaps  because  they  give  no  good  support  for  their  fingers. 

Sometimes  we  see  a  branch  with  another  kind  of  drapery  ; 
nests  of  XhQJapiin  birds  §  hanging  like  rows  of  socks — or,  sug- 
gests one,  like  the  tails  of  little  Bo-peep's  flock  that  were  left 
behind  them.  A  garrulous,  noisy  creature  is  the  japim  ;  the 
hanging  villages  are  lively  from  morning  till  night  with  the 
gossip  and  scolding.  This  species  has  a  glossy  black  and 
yellow  coat ;  in  shape  it  is  like  our  blackbird,  to  which,  in- 
deed, it  is  allied.  Brazilians  delight  to  have  the  japins  about 
their  houses  ;  sometimes  the  young  birds  are  kept  indoors, 
and,  as  they  grow,  they  become  as  tame  as  kittens.  On  the 
trees  I  have  often  seen  fifty  nests  together.] 

There  are  a  good  many  small  birds  about  the  thickets  ; 
tanagers  and  finches,  and  rarely  a  hummer  darting  about  the 
flowers.  Pretty  green  lizards  scuttle  off*  through  the  leaves  ; 
there  may  be  ugly,  crested  ones  lurking  about  the  shady 
places,  and  snakes  possibly  ;  but  we  see  nothing  of  these. 
The  bright  beetles  and  spiders  are  hidden,  too  ;  but  looking 
down  the  road  we  can  see  hosts  of  dragon-flies  darting  about 
as  thickly  as  a  swarm  of  bees.     Some  of  these  dragon-flies 

'^  Euterpe  edulis.  +  Mauritia  flexuosa. 

X  Maximiliana  regia.  <J  Cassicus  icteronotus. 

II  A  kind  of  wasp  builds  in  the  same  trees  ;  the  Indians  say  that  it  is  never  found 
except  with  the  japins. 

PARA.  6 1 

are  remarkable  for  their  bright  red  bodies  ;  others  are  green 
and  black,  Hke  our  northern  species.  Besides  these,  the  con- 
spicuous insects  are  butterflies  ;  common  kinds,  such  as  are 
seen  in  open  places,  but  some  of  them  are  as  bright-tinted  as 
flowers.  The  strangest  are  the  Heliconii^  with  very  long 
wings  and  slender  bodies.  They  fly  feebly  about  the  flowers, 
and  never  seek  concealment  as  other  species  do.  But  you 
will  notice  that  the  birds,  most  expert  butterfly-hunters,  never 
touch  a  Heliconius.  The  insects  are  protected  by  a  very 
strong,  disagreeable  odor,  which  is  quite  as  disgusting  to  the 
birds,  it  would  seem,  as  it  is  to  us.  Mr.  Bates,  who  published 
a  beautiful  monograph  of  these  butterflies,  has  shown  that 
the  slow  flight  and  carelessness  of  concealment  are  only  a 
natural  result  of  the  immunity  they  enjoy. 

In  the  woods  beyond  there  are  other  butterflies ;  hand- 
some species,  with  yellow  and  red  markings,  quaker  brown 
ones  along  the  ground,  and  now  and  then  a  splendid  blue 
Morpho  flapping  lazily  over  our  heads.  Under  the  arum- 
leaves  we  find  lovely  creamy  Hclicopi,  with  trail  dresses  span- 
gled with  silver ;  of  all  the  forest  beauties  these-  are  the 
prettiest  and  most  delicate.  There  are  hundreds  of  other 
species,  but  they  require  careful  search  ;  you  must  come  to 
the  forest  day  after  day,  and  traverse  every  path,  before  you 
can  amass  such  collections  as  Bates  and  Wallace  tell  of. 

The  forest  here  is  second  growth,  probably,  but  it  is  a 
hundred  feet  high,  rising  like  a  great  hedge  on  either  side 
of  the  road.  There  are  cart-paths  running  through  it,  and 
farm-houses  beyond,  and  then  more  forest  stretching  away 
into  the  untrodden  interior ;  everywhere  the  same  tangle  of 
branches  and  vines  without  number. 

We  are  not  likely  to  meet  with  such  a  glimpse  of  still-life 
as  I  once  had  near  by  here.     It  was  on  a  forest  road,  two  or 

62  BRAZIL. 

three  miles  back  from  the  city  ;  the  way  was  arched  over- 
head, so  that  the  sunlight  broke  through  only  at  intervals. 
Some  tree  or  vine  had  been  shedding  its  blossoms,  deep  pur- 
ple-blue cups  strewing  the  ground  beneath  like  a  carpet ;  here 
these  stray  sunbeams  dropped,  a  kind  of  weird  blue  light 
against  the  shadows  behind  ;  so  strange  the  effect  was,  so 
unreal,  that  I  stopped  in  astonishment  before  I  saw  what  it 
was.  Now,  if  an  artist  painted  such  a  scene,  people  would 
cry  out,  "  Unnatural  !  "  But  every  artist  knows  that  Nature 
gives  these  unnatural  touches  now  and  then. 

At  the  end  of  this  Una  road  there  is  a  great,  tile-covered 
building,  the  public  slaughter-house.  This  is  the  gathering- 
place  of  the  city  vultures  ;  rows  of  them  are  sitting  on  the 
fences  around,  or  hopping  about  awkwardly  as  they  quarrel 
over  bits  of  offal.  Ugly  creatures,  truly,  on  the  ground  ;  but 
you  forget  all  about  that  when  they  are  in  the  air ;  then  they 
are  the  most  stately  of  all  birds.  We  watch  them  circling 
over  our  heads  :  hardly  ever  moving  their  wings,  but  they 
soar  almost  out  of  sight.  The  wonder  is,  what  carries  them 
up  ;  an  old  question  that  has  never  been  answered  satisfac- 
torily.    No  doubt  the  wind  aids  them.* 

River-fish  swarm  about  the  slaughter-house  :  bloody /}ira- 
nhaSy  no  doubt,  and  acards^  and  fifty  other  kinds.  We  find 
the  curious  little  Anableps  tetropJithabmcs  swimming  along 
the  surface.  The  eyes  are  divided,  so  that  each  has  two 
pupils  ;  of  these,  the  upper  pair  are  for  the  air,  and  the  lower 
for  the  water  ;  a  most  curious  contrivance.  The  fish  keep 
near  the  shore,  and  however  you  may  chase  them,  they  will 
never  dive. 

*  Standing  on  a  high  hill,  I  have  seen  a  vulture  make  a  dozen  turns  about  my 
head,  falling  with  the  wind,  and  rising  against  it,  but  never  moving  its  wings  at 



It  would  be  worth  our  while  to  follow  up  the  Una  in  a 
canoe  ;  there  are  palms  on  the  banks,  and  broad-leaved  wild 
bananas,  and  I  know  not  what  of  the  grand  and  beautiful  in 
plant-life.  So  it  is  all  about  the  city  ;  the  plants  overrun 
everything  ;  they  invade  even  the  church-roofs,  and  rows  of 
bushes  grow  along  the  eaves. 

We  can  visit  the  Botanical  Garden,  where  the  not  very 
elaborate  culture  has   only  given   Nature   a   better  chance  to 

The   Botanical   Garden. 

show  her  skill.  And  when  gardens,  and  outskirts,  and  second 
growth  are  all  familiar,  a  little  walk  beyond  the  city  limits 
will  bring  us  to  the  high  forest,  thick,  dark,  massive,  where 
the  few  roads  are  mere  paths,  and  one  may  lose  himself 
almost  within  sight  of  the  cathedral  towers. 

Two  hundred  and  fifty  years  have  not  insured  his  domain 
to  man  ;  petty  strifes  and  revolutions  have  stirred  the  city, 
but  the  forest  looks  down  on  them  all  and  shames  humanity 

64  BRAZIL. 

with  its  steadfastness.  A  story  on  fifteen  square  miles  of 
cleared  land.  What  is  that  to  the  leagues  beyond  ?  I  am 
half  ashamed  to  tell  it. 

Maranhao  had  been  colonized  by  the  French  as  early  as 
1594.  In  161 5  the  Portuguese,  under  Jeronymo  de  Albu- 
querque, dispossessed  them,  and  founded  a  new  captaincy, 
which  included  not  only  the  present  province  of  Maranhao, 
but  all  the  Amazons  valley.  As  soon  as  tranquillity  was 
assured  on  the  coast,  measures  were  taken  to  secure  the 
Amazons  region  against  the  Dutch  trading  colonies  which 
were  reported  there ;  and  to  this  end,  an  expedition  of 
one  hundred  and  fifty  men  was  sent,  in  three  canoes,  with 
the  brave  Captain  Francisco  Caldeira  de  Castello  Branco 
as  leader.  Caldeira  had  orders  to  establish  a  colony  at  the 
mouth  of  the  Amazons,  and  to  expel  the  Dutch.  He  and 
his  company  left  Maranhao  on  Christmas  day,  161 5,  and 
followed  the  coast  and  the  left  shore  of  the  Para  river,  until 
they  reached  a  dry  point  at  the  mouth  of  the  Guama,  where 
they  deemed  it  best  to  locate  their  new  city.  No  doubt 
Caldeira  knew  well  enough  that  he  was  not  on  the  main 
Amazons  ;  but  with  the  small  force  at  his  command,  it 
would  have  been  unwise  for  him  to  be  separated  from  the 
main  colony,  as  he  would  have  been  on  the  northern  side  of 
Marajo.*  He  began  immediately  to  build  a  fort,  which  he 
called  Santo  CJiristo,  and  the  settlement  itself  was  named 
Nossa  Senhora  de  Belem  ;  a  title  which  it  still  retains  on 
official  papers. t  It  is  said  that  the  site  selected  was  already 
inhabited  by  warlike  Indians.      Caldeira  not  only  succeeded 

*  Visconde  de  Porto  Seguro  :  Hist.  Geral  do  Brazil,  Tom.  I.,  p.  451. 

+  In  full,  Nossa  Senhora  de  Belem  do  GrSo  Pard.  Para  seems  to  a  coruptella  of 
the  Tupi  word  Parana,  a  sea,  applied  to  large  rivers,  and  especially  to  the  Amazons 
and  the  Para. 

PARA.  65 

in  subduing  these,  but  by  their  aid  he  kept  the  surrounding 
tribes  at  bay,  until  his  fortification  was  completed.*  He 
might  have  gone  on  prosperously  with  their  aid,  but  he 
presently  learned  of  a  colony  of  unfriendly  Dutchmen,  three 
hundred  or  more,  who  had  established  themselves  on  the 
northern  side  of  the  Amazons,  "with  two  palisades  to  pro- 
tect their  plantation,  especially  of  tobacco,  cotton,  and  anat- 
to,  trading  also  in  timbers."  As  this  force  was  double  his 
own,  our  captain  was  discreet  enough  to  send  for  aid  ;  a 
ship  was  despatched  to  Portugal,  but  as  he  had  no  other 
vessel  to  spare,  he  resolved  to  send  word  overland  to  Ma- 
ranhao.  Pedro  Texeira  (the  same  who  afterward  explored 
the  Amazons,  and  brought  Acuila  down  from  Quito),  was 
chosen  for  this  difficult  service  ;  he  set  out  with  three  white 
companions  and  thirty  Indians,  and  at  the  end  of  two  months 
arrived  in  Maranhao,  greatly  to  the  surprise  of  the  dwellers 
there,  who  were  far  from  expecting  a  white  man  from  this 
quarter.  In  after-times  there  was  a  road  from  Para  to  Ma- 
ranhao, but  it  has  grown  up  long  ago,  and  you  never  hear 
now  of  a  land  journey  from  one  city  to  the  other  ;  I  doubt 
if  it  could  be  made  without  great  difficulty  and  danger. 

Help  came  from  Maranhao,  and  the  colony  prospered  at 
first,  until  its  peace  was  disturbed  by  internal  feuds.  Cal- 
deira  was  deposed  by  the  colonists,  and  Balthazar  Rodrigues 
de  Mello  was  placed  at  their  head.  Meanwhile,  the  surround- 
ing Indians  took  advantage  of  these  quarrels,  and  a  host  of 
them,  under  the  chief  Guaimiaba,  laid  siege  to  the  city. 
This  state  of  things  continued  till  the  arrival  of  the  new  cap- 
tain-general, Jeronymo  Fragoso  ;  he  drove  away  the  Indians, 
and  summarily  imprisoned  not  only  Balthazar,  but  Caldeira 

*  Berredo  :  Annaes  do  Maranhao,  p.  407. 

66  BRAZIL. 

also,  sending  them  both  to  Pernambuco,  the  then  metropohs 
of  Brazil.  As  soon  as  his  authority  was  established,  he  be- 
gan a  destructive  war  on  the  Indians,  carrying  his  arms  far 
up  the  Amazons,  and  spreading  desolation  among  the  vil- 
jaees.  It  was  in  this  war  that  Bento  Maciel  Parente  first  dis- 
tinguished  himself  as  an  Indian  hunter,  *'  so  that  the  gover- 
nor himself  was  obliged  to  stop  him."  But  about  this  time 
Fragoso  died,  and  there  was  a  long  quarrel  about  his  suc- 
cessor, resulting  finally  in  the  selection  of  Bento  Maciel  him- 
self, who  built  a  mud  fort  at  Para,  and  went  on  enslaving  In- 
dians to  his  heart's  content,  until  he  was  superseded  in  1626. 
Upon  that  he  repaired  to  Spain,*  and  brought  forward  a 
patriotic  plan  of  his  for  enslaving  the  whole  Amazons,  after 
the  style  then  in  vogue  among  the  Spaniards. 

''  For  these  reasons,"  he  says,  "  your  majesty  should  create  a  bishop, 
and  send  priests,  who,  with  all  fervor,  shall  apply  themselves  to  instruct 
the  Indians.  And  for  the  sustenance  of  this  bishop,  and  his  ministers, 
you  should  give  in  charge  f  the  conquered  people,  as  has  heretofore  been 
done  in  the  Spanish  Indies.  Considering  that,  by  divine  precept,  all 
creatures  are  obliged  to  give  to  God  and  to  his  ministers  a  tenth  of  their 
harvests,  and  as  among  the  Indians  it  would  not  be  easy  to  secure  this 
tenth,  seeing  that  they  neither  respect  the  commandment  nor  know  how 
to  count  as  far  as  ten,  your  predecessors  (in  the  Spanish  Indies)  com- 
manded that  such  tithes  should  be  ipaidper  capita. 

"  In  the  Spanish  Indies,  every  man  and  his  wife  pay  a  certain  an- 
nual sum,  according  to  the  fertility  of  the  land,  and  by  this  rule  it  would 
appear  convenient  that  every  Indian  of  Maranhao  should  pay  per  year 
three  ducats,  either  in  money,  or  in  the  fruits  which  he  raises,  or  in 
personal  service  ;  dividing  the  products  into  three  equal  parts  "  (here 
comes  the  gist  of  the  matter),  "  one  for  the  bishop  and  his  priests,  one 
for  Your  Majesty,  and  the  other  for  THE  COMMEND  A  DO/?  TO  whom 

*  Portugal  and  its  dominions  were  at  this  time  imder  the  control  of  Spain. 
+  Encomendar  :  which  you  can  translate,  if  you  please,  "farm  out." 

PARA.  67 

SHALL     BE    GIVEN     THE    ADMINISTRATION     OF     THESE    TAXES.       These 

priests  will  take  with  them  many  relations  and  poor  persons,  to  live  in 
the  new  lands,  who  will  go,  hoping  with  the  favor  of  the  priests  to  secure 
grants  of  lands  to  cultivate  and  tax,  and  every  Indian,  having  his  own 
master,  will  be  defended  and  preserved,  and  cured  when  he  is  sick,  and 
exercised  in  war,  so  that  he  shall  aid  in  defending  the  land  and  in  con- 
quering others.  It  is  a  manifest  mistake  to  suppose  that  this  method  of 
conquest  is  unjust  and  violent  to  the  Indians  ;  because  tithes  are  com- 
mended by  divine  precept;  the  holy  popes  have  applied  them  for  the 
expenses  of  the  conquests,  and  the  taxes  are  only  a  right  of  those  who 
with  arms  aid  in  these  conquests,  and  thus  serve  God  and  the  king."  * 

Fortunately  for  the  Indians,  Maciel's  project  was  never 
carried  out;  and  though  the  Portuguese  masters  were  unjust 
and  cruel,  it  must  be  said  that  they  never  showed  themselves 
as  murderous  as  the  Spaniards.  Bento  Maciel  went  down  to 
universal  execration.  His  son  of  the  same  name  was  worthy 
of  the  father.  Acuna  tells  how  he  found  one  of  his  expedi- 
tions about  to  proceed  against  the  Tapajoz  Indians,  and  he 
relates  with  indignation  how  these  men  obtained  from  the  In- 
dians their  poisoned  arrows,  under  pretext  of  a  surrender  ; 
but,  having  thus  disarmed  them,  they  forced  the  Tapajozes  to 
give  up  all  the  prisoners  which  they  held  of  other  tribes,  and 
these  were  carried  away  as  slaves. t 

The  Paraenses  distinguished  themselves  in  the  recovery 
of  Maranhao  from  the  Dutch,  and  when,  in  1641,  Portugal 
threw  off  the  Spanish  yoke,  they  were  among  the  first  to 
welcome  the  change.  But  you  must  not  look  upon  Para  as 
a  city  yet.  At  this  time  it  seems  to  have  been  remarkable 
rather  for  the  great  number  of  religious  institutions  than  for 
any  commercial  importance. 

*Petigao  dirigida  pelo  Capitao-mor  Bento  Maciel  Parente  ao  Rei  D.  Philippe  IIL 
t  Nuevo  Descubrimiento,  LXXV. 


''  It  is  joyful  and  full  of  fruit  trees.  There  are  four  hundred  inhabi- 
tants, the  most  of  whom  are  cultivators.  There  are  four  monasteries, 
Sao  Antonio,  Carmo,  Merces,  and  that  of  the  Company  of  Jesus  ;  a 
city  church  and  two  others,  and  a  hospital;  all  of  which  are  sustained  by 
the  inhabitants  with  their  alms.  There  is  a  fort,  well  enough  defended 
by  three  companies  of  infantry.  The  people  make  much  tobacco  ;  and 
there  is  here  much  cotton  and  cloves,  which,  being  wild,  are  differ- 
ent from  those  of  India.  The  land  is  great,  and  would  hold  many 
people;  the  Indians,  when  the  Portuguese  arrived,  were  more  than  six 
hundred  villages  of  Tiipinanibds  and  Tapitios,  but  in  war  with  the  Por- 
tuguese the  Ttipiiiavibd  nation  was  destroyed  ;  many  Indians  died  in 
the  war  ;  others  retired  to  the  interior  ;  and  those  who  assist  the  Por- 
tuguese to-day  are  fifteen  villages,  w^orking  on  the  farms  for  two  yards 
of  cotton  cloth  every  month,  which  is  the  price  everywhere  ;  besides 
many  slaves  which  they  ransom*  from  the  wilderness."  f 

The  question  of  enslaving  the  Indians  was  agitating  all 
Brazil  at  this  time.  Father  Antonio  Vieira,  at  the  head  of 
the  Jesuits,  sought  to  save  them  from  this  fate,  and  in  the 
end  the  whole  government  of  the  Indians  was  delegated  to 
the  Jesuits  themselves  ;  they  labored  to  bring  their  charges 
together  in  villages — the  universal  policy  of  the  Jesuit  mis- 
sionaries. No  doubt  they  sometimes  turned  the  brown  labor 
to  their  own  advantage,  for  even  in  those  early  days  the 
Jesuits  began  to  show  that  they  were  human.  But  we  can 
let  that  rest  ;  we  owe  to  them  the  taming  of  a  large  portion 
of  the  Indians — those,  I  mean,  who  were  not  destroyed  by 
the  Portuguese  and  Spanish  oppressors.  The  slave-makers 
were  quarrelling  with  the  priests  by  this  time  ;  in  Para  they 
placed    all   sorts    of  obstacles  in  the   way  of  Vieira  and  his 

*  Resgatar,  a  term  then,  and  now,  used  to  express  the  buying  of  Indian  prisoners, 
or  their  forcible  seizure  from  the  tribes  in  which  they  are  captive. 

tMauricio  de  Heriarte :  Descrip9am  do  Maranham,  Para,  etc.,  1662.  Published 
by  the  Visconde  de  Porto  Seguro. 

PARA.  69 

men,  but  for  the  present  they  were  beaten.  The  Indian 
slave-trade  was  carried  on  furtively,  but  the  price  of  this  kind 
of  labor  became  so  high  that  the  planters  began  to  import 
negroes  from  Africa ;  and  so  a  third  race  came  to  take  part 
in  the  history  of  the  Amazons. 

A  dangerous  element,  too,  which  made  itself  felt  in  the 
after-revolutions.  The  Jesuits  were  expelled  in  the  end,  and 
wholesale  Indian  slavery  was  never  carried  out.  Gradually 
the  slave-making  subsided  to  the  form  which  is  still  found  on 
the  upper  rivers,  though  it  is  entirely  illegal, — the  buying  of 
captives  and  retaining  them  as  servants  until  they  are  of  age. 
The  shipments  of  slaves  from  Africa  were  not  large  ;  the 
Paraenses  were  too  idle  or  proud  to  do  their  own  work  and 
build  up  the  country  on  a  sound  basis  ;  they  cried,  as  they 
cry  now,  for  bracos — arms  to  work  for  them.  The  people 
began  to  interest  themselves  in  forest  industries  —  rubber, 
drugs,  Brazil-nuts,  and  so  on  —  and  these  natural  riches  be- 
came a  positive  hinderance  to  the  country,  because  they  drew 
attention  from  agriculture.  Finally,  to  set  the  province  back 
still  more,  there  came  the  tumults  of  1823  and  1835. 

The  independence  of  Brazil  had  been  proclaimed  in  1822, 
and  D.  Pedro  I.  had  been  inaugurated  at  Rio,  but  the  north- 
ern provinces  were  by  no  means  inclined  to  follow  the 
movement.  At  Para,  many  of  the  most  influential  merchants 
were  loyal  Portuguese  ;  there  was  political  ferment  and  a 
gradual  dividing  up  into  parties,  but  no  direct  outbreak 
against  Portugal  until  April  14,  1823.  Joao  Baptista  Balbi, 
an  Italian,  seems  to  have  been  the  prime  mover  of  this  first 
revolt ;  with  him  were  associated  a  number  of  officers  in  the 
different  regiments,  notably  a  certain  Captain  Boaventura. 
Early  in  the  morning  of  this  14th  of  April,  the  conspirators 
gained  admittance  to  the  artillery  quarters  (Balbi  counterfeit- 

70  BRAZIL. 

ing  the  voice  of  the  colonel)  and  captured  all  the  officers, 
without  the  least  resistance.  Meanwhile,  Boaventura  and 
his  comrades  succeeded  in  forming  one  of  the  regiments 
in  front  of  their  barracks  ;  to  these  there  came  a  squadron 
of  cavalry,  and,  being  ordered  thereto,  all  together  gave  a 
chorus  of  vivas  for  the  emperor,  apparently  without  well 
knowing  what  it  was  all  about.  Presently  another  regiment 
was  formed  and  marched  out  to  meet  the  first  one.  Boaven- 
tura shouted  Viva  o  hnperador  f  and  all  the  soldiers  shouted, 
*'  with  great  enthusiasm,"  say  the  chroniclers.  But  their 
major,  Francisco  Jose  Ribeiro,  was  not  in  favor  of  the 
movement ;  he  slipped  in  a  little  speech  in  favor  of  the 
king  of  Portugal,  and,  as  everybody  was  silent,  he  immedi- 
ately declared  that  the  third  regiment  was  not  in  favor  of 
Brazilian  independence ;  whereat  the  soldiers  opened  their 
mouths,  and,  not  knowing  what  to  say,  shut  them  up  again, 
and  viva'd  nobody.  Boaventura,  not  being  equal  to  this 
unexpected  emergency,  immediately  posted  off  to  the  artillery 
quarters,  where  his  friends  had  the  guns  arranged  to  sweep 
the  street.  At  this  moment  one  of  the  disarmed  officers  ran 
to  a  gun,  reversed  and  fired  it,  killing  a  sentinel  and  wound- 
ing a  sergeant ;  he  was  immediately  shot  down.  Beyond 
this  there  was  no  blood  shed  ;  the  infantry  regiments,  being 
now  under  Portuguese  officers,  were  marched  against  the 
conspirators  ;  a  discharge  of  grape  would  have  scattered 
them,  no  doubt ;  but  Boaventura  would  allow  no  resistance  ; 
he  stood  in  a  theatrical  attitude,  with  folded  hands,  declaring 
that  no  drop  of  blood  should  be  spilled  ;  he  and  his  com- 
rades were  presently  marched  away  under  guard,  and  the 
soldiers  went  to  bed  again.  The  end  of  this  sleepy  little 
revolt  was  more  serious.  No  less  than  two  hundred  and 
seventy  citizens  were  condemned  to  death,  but  were  sent  to 

PARA.  71 

Lisbon  for  execution  ;  many  died  on  the  passage,  through 
the  barbarous  treatment  that  they  received ;  those  who 
escaped  were  finally  liberated.* 

A  few  of  the  conspirators,  who  had  escaped,  formed  a  new 
revolt  at  Muana,  on  the  island  of  Marajo,  and  these  were  only 
beaten  after  a  hard  battle.  They  were  marched  to  the  Para 
prisons  ;  "  and  while  passing  through  the  streets  they  were 
jeered  at  and  hooted  by  the  Portuguese  party,  some  of  whom 
had  whips  and  clubs  publicly  hanging  from  their  windows."  f 

However,  the  national  feeling  began  to  grow  ;  it  was 
strengthened  by  the  weakness  of  the  Portuguese  government, 
and  a  decisive  event  presently  turned  the  city  over  to  the 
emperor.  At  that  time  the  Englishman,  Lord  Cochrane, 
was  in  charge  of  the  Brazilian  navy  ;  he  had  captured  Ma- 
ranhao,  and  now  he  sent  Captain  Grenfell  with  a  ship,  to 
bring  Para  into  subjection.  Grenfell  had  orders  to  feign  an 
approach  of  the  whole  fleet,  which  he  did  so  well  that  the 
provincial  junta  immediately  gave  in  its  adhesion  to  the 
emperor,  and  Grenfell  was  welcomed  to  the  city. 

When  the  deception  was  discovered  there  was  a  good 
deal  of  discontent  in  the  Portuguese  party  ;  about  this  time, 
also,  an  extreme  liberal  party  began  to  make  its  appear- 
ance in  Para,  and  between  the  two  the  place  was  in  a  fer- 
ment. Allegiance  to  the  emperor  was  solemnly  proclaimed 
on  the  1 2th  of  October,  but  it  was  well  known  to  the  liberals 
that  there  were  still  a  number  of  Portuguese  sympathizers  in 
the  junta,  and  their  dismissal  was  demanded.      On  the  night 

*  A  specimen  of  Portuguese  justice,  which  has  too  often  been  repeated  in  Brazil, 
People  are  not  legally  condemned  to  death,  except  in  rare  instances  ;  but  they  are 
illegally  murdered  in  prisons  and  prison-ships.  I  am  glad  to  say  that  there  are 
reforms  in  this  respect. 

+  D.  A.  Raiol :  Motins  Politicos  da  Provincia  do  Para,  Tomo  I.,  p.  59. 

72  BRAZIL. 

of  the  15th  a  revolt  broke  out  among  the  soldiers  who  favored 
the  emperor.  Three  regiments  joined  together  and  marched 
to  the  arsenal,  and  a  well-known  liberal,  the  Canon  Baptista 
Campos,  was  forced,  much  against  his  will,  to  lead  them.  A 
crowd  of  people  joined  the  soldiers  ;  they  shouted  for  arms, 
which  were  given  them  ;  then  they  marched  to  the  palace, 
where  they  demanded  that  Baptista  Campos  should  take  the 
presidency.  He  and  others  succeeded  in  calming  the  crowd, 
but  squads  of  half-drunken  men  wandered  about  the  streets 
all  night,  Now,  as  in  after-times,  the  liberal  party  evinced 
a  spirit  of  deadly  hatred  against  the  Portuguese.  A  number 
of  their  shops  were  sacked  and  burned  ;  on  the  succeeding 
night  the  same  scenes  were  repeated. 

The  junta  sent  in  haste  for  Grenfell  to  put  a  stop  to  the 
revolt.  He  came  with  a  body  of  marines,  and  disarmed  all 
the  regiments  that  had  taken  part  in  the  uproar ;  they  were 
marched  to  a  public  square,  and  there  one  man  was  chosen 
from  each  of  the  five  regiments,  and  shot  down  without 
mercy.  The  Canon  Baptista  Campos,  who  was  by  no  means 
to  blame  for  it  all,  was  tied  to  the  muzzle  of  a  gun,  and  a 
lighted  match  was  held  ready ;  he  was  commanded  to  confess 
before  he  was  blown  away.  But  for  this  time  the  Englishmen 
saved  that  punishment  for  the  Sepoys ;  the  junta  interceded 
for  Campos,  and  he  was  carried  on  board  the  captain's  ship, 
whence  he  was  subsequently  sent  to  Rio. 

Meanwhile  the  remaining  soldiers  were  marched  to  prison  ; 
presently  after  they  were  transferred  to  a  brig  in  the  river, 
and  there  the  whole  two  hundred  and  fifty-six  were  shut  into  a 
part  of  the  hold,  *'*  thirty  spans  long,  twenty  wide  and  twelve 
high,"  *  and  left  for  the  night.     The  air  was  calm  and  very 

*  Evidently  a  mistake,  but  these  are  the  dimensions  given  by  Brazilian  vv^riters. 

PARA.  T^ 

warm.  The  crowd  begged  for  drink,  and  brackish  water  from 
the  river  was  lowered  to  them  in  a  can — poisoned,  some  say. 
The  prisoners  got  little  good  from  it,  at  any  rate  ;  they  threw 
off  their  clothes  ;  crowded  to  get  a  breath  of  air  from  the  one 
gangway  ;  turned  raving  maniacs  at  length,  with  their  suffer- 
ings, and  began  to  tear  each  other  with  their  nails  and  teeth. . 
A  quantity  of  lime  was  thrown  down  on  them,  shots  were 
fired  into  the  hold,  then  the  gangway  was  closed,  and  after  a 
while  the  noise  ceased.  In  the  morning  they  opened  the 
hold  and  found  a  heap  of  two  hundred  and  fifty-tw^o  dead 
bodies  ;  four  only,  who  had  concealed  themselves  behind  a 
hogshead,  were  still  breathing  ;  of  these,  three  died  the  next 
day,  and  the  fourth  lived  for  some  years,  in  great  suffering, 
the  only  survivor  of  this  black  scene.  It  is  difficult  to  sup- 
pose that  the  junta  intended  the  death  of  these  men,  the  most 
of  whom  were  ignorant  soldiers,  and  only  dangerous  when 
led  by  unprincipled  men.  Grenfell  must  have  been  to  blame 
for  the  massacre,  to  a  certain  extent  at  least ;  he  provided  the 
ship,  and  had  the  prisoners  taken  on  board.  Certainly,  he  did 
not  show  by  his  subsequent  acts  that  he  was  at  all  just  or 
merciful.  The  junta  declared  that  the  prisoners,  actuated  by 
the  same  spirit  that  led  them  to  revolt,  had  killed  each  other 
in  a  mad  frenzy.  Of  course  the  liberals  magnified  the  crime, 
and  made  the  most  of  it. 

There  was  no  peace  for  the  province.  Even  after  the 
empire  was  fully  acknowledged,  the  division  of  parties  con- 
tinued as  strong  as  ever  ;  on  the  one  side  an  invincible 
hatred  of  the  Portuguese  and  a  general  running  to  anarchy  ; 
on  the  other  hand  an  equal  hatred  for  the  liberals  and 
all  sorts  of  oppressions.  The  prisons  and  prison-ships  were 
crowded  with  rebels  and  **  suspects,"  who  died  there  by 
hundreds  ;   for  years    the  city    and  country  were  full   of  tu- 

74  BRAZIL. 

mults.  The  Canon  Baptista  Campos  had  returned  from 
Rio,  and  now  took  the  lead  of  the  extreme  hberal  party. 
With  the  abdication  of  Pedro  I.,  and  the  regency,  there  came 
new  disorders.  There  was  an  insurrection  in  August,  1832, 
and  another  in  April,  1833  ;  then,  after  half  a  dozen  changes, 
there  came  an  unpopular  president,  Lobo  de  Souza,  from  Rio 
de  Janeiro.  This  man  succeeded  in  stirring  the  people  to  a 
new  revolt  ;  one  of  their  leaders,  Lieutenant-colonel  Malcher, 
was  imprisoned  ;  finally,  on  the  7th  of  January,  1835,  a  great 
mob  of  liberals,  led  by  a  Sergeant  Gomes,  overran  the  city; 
murdered  the  president  and  the  military  commandant,  as  well 
as  a  score  of  Portuguese  merchants  ;  released  Malcher  from 
prison  and  placed  him  in  the  presidency,  on  the  understand- 
ing that  he  was  not  to  be  superseded  from  Rio  until  the 
majority  of  Pedro  II.  One  Francisco  Pedro  Vinagre,  a  rub- 
ber trader,  was  placed  at  the  head  of  the  troops.  This  man 
was  a  mere  anarchist ;  he  presently  quarrelled  with  the  new 
president,  incited  his  partisans  against  him,  and  after  a  three 
days'  battle  in  the  streets,  Malcher  was  deposed  and  mur- 
dered, and  Vinagre  took  his  place  ;  subsequently  he  gave  up 
the  city  to  another  president,  Rodriguez,  from  Rio.  Vinagre 
himself  was  then  imprisoned,  a  measure  which  infuriated  the 
populace  to  the  highest  degree.  They  called  to  their  aid 
the  ignorant  Indian  and  negro  population ;  a  host  of  these 
cabanaes  assembled  in  the  outskirts  of  Para.  Vinagre's 
brother,  in  the  name  of  the  crowd,  three  times  demanded 
the  release  of  their  leader  ;  and  when  this  was  peremptorily 
refused,  the  whole  rabble  poured  in  upon  the  city  like  an 
avalanche.  Now  the  cry  was  **  Death  to  the  whites!"  and 
**  Death  to  the  freemasons!"  For  nine  days  there  was  a 
horrible  battle  in  the  streets.  Vinagre  himself  was  killed. 
Aid   for  the   law-abiding  party  was  sent  from  English   and 

PARA.  '  75 

French  vessels  in  the  river,  but  the  president  was  too 
cowardly  to  avail  himself  of  it.  In  the  end,  every  respectable 
white  was  obliged  to  leave  the  city ;  many  escaped  on  board 
vessels  in  the  river,  and  finally  to  the  island  of  Tatuoca,  some 
miles  below.  There,  it  is  said,  five  thousand  persons  died  of 
disease  and  starvation.* 

Rodriguez  made  occasional  raids  on  the  cabanaes  ;  but 
the  city  was  given  up  to  complete  anarchy.  Disorders  broke 
out  among  the  rebels,  and  mutual  assassinations  became  com- 
mon. *'  Business  was  effectually  broken  up,  and  the  city  was 
as  fast  as  possible  reverting  to  a  wilderness.  Tall  grass  grew 
up  in  the  streets."  f 

The  cabanaes  overran  the  whole  province  except  Cameta 
and  the  region  above  the  Rio  Negro.  A  more  frightful 
civil  war  has  never  been  recorded.  This  was  not  merely 
a  war  between  two  sections ;  it  was  a  struggle  of  parties, 
neighbor  against  neighbor,  a  massacre  in  the  streets,  a  chas- 
ing through  the  forests  and  swamps.  To  this  day  old  men 
will  tell  you  brave  stories  of  the  great  rebellion ;  how  they 
fought  hard  with  this  or  that  party ;  how  brothers  were 
killed  and  families  driven  away  ;  how  men  were  shot  down  by 
scores  because  they  would  not  renounce  their  partisan  tenets. 

In  April,  1836,  President  Andrea  arrived  from  Rio  de 
Janeiro,  and  drove  out  the  rebels ;  gradually  the  interior 
towns  gave  way,  but  it  was  a  long  time  before  the  excite- 
ment subsided.  Even  now  one  hears  of  the  extreme  repub- 
licans or  communists,  but  it  is  difficult  to  estimate  their  real 
force.  Hatred  to  the  Portuguese  is  still  a  part  of  their  creed  ; 
the  overturning  of  both  church  and  state  power  seems  to  be 
their  ultimate   object.      Now  and  then  they  issue  an  incen- 

*  Edwards  :  Voyage  up  the  Amazon,  p.  i6. 

t  Kidder:  Sketches  in  Brazil,  ist  edition,  vol.  ii.,  p.  318. 


diary  placard,  warning  their  opponents  to  "  remember  the 
days  of  '35."  Party  spirit  runs  high  ;  often  the  elections  end 
in  an  uproar ;  but  beyond  these  ebuUitions  the  province  has 
been  quiet  from  1836  until  now,  and  it  would  be  wrong  to 
judge  the  Brazilian  character  by  those  sad  days.  The  people 
are  hot-headed;  in  the  excitement  of  political  strife  they 
were  carried  to  deeds  which  they  would  not  have  dreamed 
of  in  sober  moments ;  as  for  the  Indians  and  blacks,  they 
followed  in  the  wake  of  their  leaders,  and,  being  ignorant, 
often  went  beyond  them  in  cruelty,  as  a  child  is  more 
unreasoning  in  its  passion  than  a  man.  They  are  tame 
enough  now,  and  very  good  and  quiet  people,  as  we  shall 
find  them  in  our  travels.  The  lower  classes  are  no  more  to 
blame  for  tumults  than  waves  are  for  beating  down  a  light- 

With  all  these  storms  Para  has  gone  on  slowly ;  the 
metropolis  of  the  Amazons,  she  is  still  a  city  of  forty  thousand 
inhabitants,  at  most.  Aside  from  her  most  important  export 
— rubber — she  sends  us  Brazil-nuts,  cacao,  and  various  drugs  ; 
but  sugar,  coffee,  and  cotton  are  largely  exported  from  the 
south,  and  the  immense  riches  of  Amazonian  timber  are 

The  time  must  come  when  all  these  things,  and  more,  will 
fill  the  markets  of  Para  ;  when  the  Pacific  republics  will  make 
the  Amazons  and  its  metropolis  the  guardians  of  their  com- 
merce. The  northern  channels  are  more  or  less  obstructed 
near  the  mouth,  and  the  furious  currents  make  it  difficult  for 
vessels  to  enter  ;  it  is  not  probable,  then,  that  Macapa  or 
other  northern  ports  will  ever  offer  any  serious  rivalry  to 
Para.  As  commerce  increases  a  new  port  will  be  formed, 
eight  or  ten  miles  below  the  present  one,  where  the  banks 
are  high  and  the  river  deep  enough  for  the  largest  steamers. 

PARA.  ']'] 

Already  there  is  a  much-talked-of  project  for  building  a  rail- 
road to  this  point ;  when  this  is  done  the  old  city  will  still  be 
the  residence  of  the  richer  classes,  but  foreign  trade  will  all 
turn  to  the  new  harbor. 

Soon  or  late  the  future  of  Para  is  secure.  A  century 
hence  the  ships  of  all  nations  will  crowd  to  her  wharves, 
bearing  away  the  riches  of  half  a  continent.  Assuredly  it 
will  be  our  fault  if  we  do  not  profit  by  the  commercial  centre 
that  is  forming  so  near  us.  To  turn  this  tide  of  wealth  to 
our  own  doors,  while  yet  the  stream  is  small,  is  a  problem 
that  may  well  engage  the  attention  of  our  rulers  and  of  every 
thoughtful  American. 



WE  have  come  to  the  Amazons,  not  as  sight-seers 
merely,  but  to  study  the  great  valley — to  get  an 
Intelligent  idea  of  the  country.  Our  first  step,  then,  is  to 
distinguish  between  the  main-land  and  the  flood-plain  ;  we 
must  divide  these  two  in  our  minds  as  sharply  as  they  are 
divided  in  nature.  The  main-land  is  always  beyond  reach 
of  the  floods,  though  it  may  be  only  a  few  inches  above 
them  ;  it  has  a  foundation  of  older  rock,  which  crops  out  in 
many  places.  The  flood-plain,  on  the  contrary,  has  clearly 
been  formed  by  the  river  itself ;  its  islands  and  flats  are  built 
up  of  mud  and  clay,  with  an  occasional  sand-bank;  but  they 
are  never  stony,  and  only  isolated  points  are  a  few  inches 
above  the  highest  floods.  In  their  plants  and  animals  the 
two  regions  are  utterly  distinct — as  much  so  as  America  and 
Europe  ;  yet  we  shall  find  some  resemblances  that  are  full  of 
interest.  Having  separated  our  two  worlds,  we  must  trace 
out  their  connections  and  mutual  dependencies. 

I  have  used  the  term  **  main-land,"  as  the  Brazilians  use 
terra  fir^ne,  in  contradistinction  to  the  varseas,  or  vargens^ 
flood-plains.  But  we  must  remember  that  bits  of  terra  firme 
may  be  cut  off  to  form  islands  in  the  river  or  in  the  flood- 
plain;   and,  vice  versa,  great  tracts  of  varzea  are  often  joined 


to  the  high  land.  The  division  is  one  of  structure,  not  of 

In  this  chapter  we  have  nothing  to  do  with  the  higher 
land  ;  our  first  rambles  will  be  among  the  islands  and  chan- 
nels of  the  varzeas,  with  their  swampy  forests,  and  great 
stretches  of  meadow,  and  half-submerged  plantations.  These 
plains  are  not  a  distinctive  feature  of  the  Amazons.  Nearly 
all  great  rivers  have  flood-lands  near  their  mouths  ;  on  the 
Lower  Mississippi,  for  example,  there  are  wide  reaches  of 
swamp-land,  with  a  net-work  of  bayous  and  lakes.  But  on 
other  streams  the  plains  narrow  ofif  as  we  ascend,  and  are 
soon  lost  ;  on  the  Amazons  alone  they  extend  almost  to  the 
head-waters,  as  if  a  sea  had  been  filled  in,  leaving  deep 
ditches  for  the  water-flow  and  countless  pools  over  the  sur- 
face. From  Manaos  to  the  Atlantic  the  width  of  this  allu- 
vial flat  varies  from  fifteen  miles  to  a  hundred  or  more  ;  on 
the  Upper  Amazons  it  is  probably  still  wider  ;  *  only  as  we 
approach  the  Andes,  the  rocky  shores  are  narrowed  to  the 
main  stream. 

We  leave  Para  with  the  midnight  tide ;  by  gray  morning 
we  are  steaming  across  the  Bay  of  Marajo,  which  is  not  a  bay 
at  all,  but  properly  a  continuation  of  the  Para  river,  or  its 
connection  with  the  Tocantins.  The  wind  blows  briskly  over 
the  wide  reaches,  swaying  our  hammocks  under  the  arched 
roof  of  the  upper  deck  ;  we  roll  our  blankets  closer  around 
us,  and  let  who  will  retreat  to  the  stifling  state-rooms.  But 
if  Boreas  cannot  unwrap  us,  Phoebus  brings  us  out  quickly 
enough  ;  we  jump  up  with  the  sun  shining  In  our  eyes,  and 
all  around  the  bright  waves  leaping  and  dancing  for  joy  to 
see  the  beautiful  morning. 

*  I  am  not  personally  familiar  with  the  river  above  Obidos. 

8o  BRAZIL. 

We  have  a  dozen  fellow-passengers,  such  people  as  you 
will  see  on  any  of  the  Amazonian  steamers  ;  most  of  them  are 
traders  from  the  river-towns,  or  government  officials — good- 
natured  people,  and  not  unpleasant  companions,  though  their 
ideas  of  refinement  are  crude  enough  ;  one  or  two,  however, 
are  of  the  educated  class,  intelligent  and  gentlemanly.  As 
for  the  ladies,  they  keep  to  their  cabin  for  the  most  part,  only 
coming  out  bashfully  at  meal-time.  The  absence  of  cere- 
mony on  board  is  very  enjoyable.  We  lounge  in  our  ham- 
mocks during  the  hot  hours,  smoke,  and  read,  or  watch  the 
shores.  Our  table  is  spread  on  deck,  breakfast  at  ten  o'clock, 
dinner  at  four,  and  tea  at  seven  ;  aside  from  the  peculiar 
Brazilian  cookery,  we  have  no  fault  to  find  with  the  food, 
which  is  good*  and  plentiful;  the  second-  and  third-class 
passengers,  a  hundred  or  more,  fare  much  worse.  The 
steamboat  itself  is  of  English  build,  and  rather  old-fashioned  ; 
latterly  a  few  American  vessels  have  been  introduced,  and  if 
these  give  satisfaction,  the  Brazilian  companies  are  likely  to 
buy  of  us  hereafter. 

Marajo  Bay  is  broader  even  than  the  Amazons ;  there 
are  great  reaches  of  open  horizon  up  the  Tocantins  and  off 
toward  the  sea.  But  farther  on  we  enter  the  system  of  pas- 
sages that  separate  Marajo  Island  from  the  main-land,  where 
the  steamer  keeps  close  to  the  forest-clad  shore.  The  oppo- 
site shore  may  still  be  a  quarter  of  a  mile  away,  although 
these  channels  are  generally  described  as  only  just  wide 
enough  for  the  steamer  to  pass  through  them  ;  a  natural 
mistake,  because  the  towering  forest  makes  them  look  nar- 
rower.    Most  of  them  are  as  broad  as  the  Hudson  at  Albany. 

Any  one  who  is  not  blind  must  feel  his  soul  moved  within 

*  On  some  boats.     But  the  Amazonian  Company  should  reform  the  service  of 
certain  vessels. 



him  by  the  marvellous  beauty  of  the  vegetation.  Not  a  bit 
of  ground  is  seen  ;  straight  up  from  the  water  the  forest  rises 
like  a  wall — dense,  dark,  impenetrable,  a  hundred  feet  of  leafy 
splendor.  And  breaking  out  everywhere  from  among  the 
heaped-up  masses  are  the  palm-trees  by  thousands.  For  here 
the  palms  hold  court ;  nowhere  else  on  the  broad  earth  is 
their   glory   unveiled   as   we    see  it ;    soft,    plumy    y?ipatis,* 

Breves  Channe 

drooping  over  the  water,  and  fairy-light  assais-\  and  bussiisX 
with  their  light  green,  vase-like  forms,  and  great,  noble,  fan- 
leaved  miritis%  looking  down  from  their  eighty-feet  high 
columns,  and  others  that  we  hardly  notice  at  first,  though 
they  are  nobles  in  their  race.  If  palms,  standing  alone,  are 
esteemed  the  most  beautiful  of  trees,  what  shall  we  say  when 
their  numbers  are  counted,  not  by  scores,  nor  hundreds,  but 
by  thousands,  and  all  in  a  ground-work  of  such  forest  as  is 

*  Raphia  tedigera. 
X  Manicaria  saccifera. 

t  Euterpe  edulis. 
§  Mauritia  flexuosa. 

82  BRAZIL. 

never  seen  outside  of  the  tropics  ?  The  scene  is  infinitely 
varied  ;  sometimes  the  pahii-trees  are  hidden,  but  even  then 
the  great  rolHng  mass  is  full  of  wonderful  changes,  from  the 
hundred  or  more  kinds  of  trees  that  compose  it  ;  and  again 
the  palms  hold  undivided  sway,  or  only  low  shrubs  and  deli- 
cate climbing  vines  soften  their  splendor.  In  most  places 
there  are  not  many  large  vines  ;  we  shall  find  their  kingdom 
farther  up  the  river,  and  on  the  highlands  ;  here  we  some- 
times notice  a  tree  draped  with  pendent  masses,  as  if  a  green 
tapestry  were  thrown  over  it.  Down  by  the  water's  edge 
the  flowering  convolvuli  are  mingled  with  shield-like  leaves 
of  the  arborescent  arums,*  and  mangroves  standing  aloft  on 
their  stilt-like  roots,  where  they  are  washed  by  the  estuary 

The  Indian  pilot  points  out  numbers  of  rubber-trees, f  and 
we  learn  to  recognize  their  white  trunks  and  shining  bright 
green  foliage.  This  low  tide-region  is  one  of  the  most  im- 
portant rubber  districts,  where  hundreds  of  seringiieh'os  are 
employed  in  gathering  and  preparing  the  crude  gum.  Oc- 
casionally we  see  their  thatched  huts  along  the  shore,  built 
on  piles,  and  always  damp,  reeking,  dismal,  suggestive  of 
agues  and  rheumatism  ;  for  the  tide-lowlands,  glorious  as 
they  are  from  the  river,  are  sodden  marshes  within,  where 
many  a  rubber-gatherer  has  found  disease  and  death. 

The  little  town  of  Breves  owes  its  prosperity  to  this  dan- 
gerous industry.  It  is  built  on  a  low  strip  of  sandy  land, 
with  swamps  on  either  side  coming  close  up  to  the  town  ; 
even  along  the  water-front  the  main  street  is  a  succession  of 
bridges.     But  the  houses   are  well  built  of  brick  or  adobe, 

*Caladium  arborescens,  etc. 

tSiphonia:  several  species  are  admitted,  of  which  this  appears  to  be  the  true  S. 


and  the  stores  contain  excellent  stocks  of  the  commoner 
wares.  The  place  looks  fresh  and  pretty  enough  ;  the  mias- 
ma of  the  swamps  does  not  often  rise  to  the  highlands,  so  we 
are  not  loath  to  remain  here  for  a  few  days  and  study  the 
rubber  industry  more  closely. 

In  the  river-towns  there  are  no  hotels  ;  but  we  are  pro- 
vided with  a  letter  of  introduction,  which  insures  us  a  hearty 
welcome  and  a  home  as  long  as  we  care  to  stay.  For  the 
Amazons  is  a  land  of  hospitality.  Out  of  Para,  a  stranger, 
even  unintroduced,  will  always  find  shelter  and  food,  and  for 
the  most  part  without  a  thought  of  remuneration  ;  but,  if  on 
a  longer  stay  he  occupies  a  house  of  his  own,  he  will  be  ex- 
pected to  extend  the  same  hospitality  to  others. 

The  rubber-swamps  are  all  around,  but  land  travelling  is 
out  of  the  question.  So  an  Indian  canoe-man  is  engaged, — a 
good-natured  fellow,  and  an  adept  in  wood-craft.  He  sets 
us  across  the  river  at  a  half-ruined  hut,  where  bright  vines 
clamber  over  the  broken  thatch  and  hang  in  long  festoons  in 
front  of  the  low  door-way  ;  but  within,  the  floor  is  sodden 
black  clay,  and  dark  mould  hangs  on  the  sides,  and  the  air  is 
like  a  sepulchre.  The  single  slovenly  niaineluca  woman  who 
inhabits  the  place  complains  bitterly  of  the  ague  which  tor- 
tures her ;  yet,  year  after  year,  until  the  house  falls  to  pieces, 
she  will  go  on  dying  here,  because,  forsooth,  it  is  her  own,  and 
the  rubber-trees  are  near.  She  will  not  even  repair  the  struc- 
ture. You  can  see  sky  through  the  roof ;  but  if  rain  drives 
in  she  will  swing  her  hammock  in  another  corner,  and  shiver 
on  through  the  night  as  best  she  may  ;  for  to-morrow  there 
are  rubber-trees  to  be  tapped,  and  a  fresh  harvest  of  the 
precious  milk  to  be  brought  home,— and  what  will  you  have  ? 
One  must  expect  discomfort  in  a  swamp. 

Back  of  the  house  the  rubber-trees  are  scattered  through 



marshy  forest,  where  we  clamber  over  logs,  and  sink  into 
pools  of  mud,  and  leap  the  puddles  ;  where  the  mosquitoes 
are  blood-thirsty,  and  nature  is  damp  and  dark  and  threaten- 
ing.  Where  the  silence  is  unbroken  by  beast  or  bird — a  silence 

that  can  be  felt ;  it  is 
Hke  a  tomb  in  which 
we  are  buried,  away 
from  the  sunshine, 
away  from  brute 
and  man,  alone  with 
rotting  death.  The 
very  beauty  of  our 
forest  tomb  makes 
us  shudder  by  its 

In  the  early  mor- 
ning, men  and  wo- 
men come  with  bas- 
kets of  clay  cups  on 
their  backs,  and  lit- 
tle hatchets  to  gash  the  trees.  Where  the  white  milk  drips 
down  from  the  gash  they  stick  their  cups  on  the  trunk  with 
daubs  of  clay,  moulded  so  as  to  catch  the  whole  flow.  If  the 
tree  is  a  large  one,  four  or  five  gashes  may  be  cut  in  a  circle 
around  the  trunk.  On  the  next  day  other  gashes  are  made 
a  little  below  these,  and  so  on  until  the  rows  reach  the  ground. 
By  eleven  o'clock  the  flow  of  milk  has  ceased,  and  the  serin- 
gueiros  come  to  collect  the  contents  of  the  cups  in  calabash 
jugs.  A  gill  or  so  is  the  utmost  yield  from  each  tree,  and  a 
single  gatherer  may  attend  to  a  hundred  and  twenty  trees 
or  more,  wading  always  through  these  dark  marshes,  and 
paying  dearly  for  his  profit  in  fever  and  weakness. 

The  Rubber-Gatherer. 



Our  nianieliLca  hostess  has  brought  in  her  day's  gathering 
— a  calabash  full  of  the  white  liquid,  in  appearance  precisely 
like  milk.  If  left  in  this  condition  it  coagulates  after  a  while, 
and  forms  an  inferior  whitish  gum.  To  make  the  black  rub- 
ber of  commerce  the  milk  must  go  through  a  peculiar  process 
of  manufacture,  for  which  our  guide  has  been  preparing. 
Over  a  smouldering  fire,  fed  with  the  hard  nuts  of  the  tticuind 
palm,*  he  places  a  kind  of  clay  chimney,  like  a  wide  mouthed, 

Preparing  Rubber. 

bottomless  jug;  through  this  boido  the  thick  smoke  pours  in 
a  constant  stream.  Now  he  takes  his  mould — in  this  case  a 
wooden  one,  like  a  round-bladed  paddle — washes  it  with  the 
milk,  and  holds  it  over  the  smoke  until  the  liquid  coagulates. 
Then  another  coat  is  added — only  now,  as  the  wood  is  heated, 
the  milk  coagulates   faster.     It   may  take  the  gatherings   of 

*  Astrocaryum  tucuma.     A  common  substitute  is  the  fruit  of  some  Attalia. 

86  BRAZIL. 

two  or  three  days  to  cover  the  mould  thickly  enough.  Then 
the  rubber  is  still  dull  white,  but  in  a  short  time  it  turns 
brown,  and  finally  almost  black,  as  it  is  sent  to  the  market. 
The  mass  is  cut  from  the  paddle  and  sold  to  traders  in  the 
village.  Bottles  are  sometimes  made  by  moulding  the  rub- 
ber over  a  clay  ball,  which  is  then  broken  up  and  removed. 
Our  old-fashioned  rubber  shoes  used  to  be  made  in  this 

During  the  wet  months,  from  February  until  June  or  July, 
this  ground  is  under  water,  and  the  seringaes  are  deserted  by 
every  one.  The  floods  would  not  entirely  interrupt  the  gather- 
ing, were  it  not  that  the  gum  is  then  weak,  and  of  compara- 
tively little  value.  Besides,  the  trees  need  this  period  of  rest 
to  make  up  for  the  constant  summer  drain.  The  rubber 
months,  then,  are  from  June  or  July  until  January  or  Febru- 
ary, varying  somewhat  with  the  year  and  the  district.  Dur- 
ing this  period,  many  thousand  persons  are  employed  in 
tapping  the  trees.  All  of  them  are  of  the  poorer  class — Indi- 
ans, mulattoes,  and  Portuguese  immigrants,  who  like  nothing 
better  than  this  wandering,  half- vagrant  life. 

Around  Breves,  rubber  is  almost  the  only  product  of  the 
lowlands ;  *  the  whole  region  is  simply  an  endless  succession 
of  channels,  and  small  lakes,  and  swamps  covered  with 
forest  — beautiful  beyond  thought  from  without,  a  dismal 
wilderness  within.  From  the  village  we  could  take  canoe- 
trips  in  almost  every  direction,  and  return  by  different  routes 
to  our  starting-point ;  or  we  could  spend  days  in  voyaging, 
and  never  repass  a  place. 

If  we  could  only  transport  some  of  this  forest  to  a  north- 
ern  park  !     If  we   could   bottle  up   the   sunshine   and  let  it 

*  When  planted,  however,  the  tree  will  grow  on  the  terra  firme.    The  seeds  are 
floated  about  in  the  water,  and  naturally  lodge  in  the  lowland  swamps. 


loose  in  Broadw^iy  !  Our  canoe  passes  along  by  shores 
where  we  would  fain  pause  at  every  turn  to  catch  some  new 
effect  of  light  and  color  ;  and  as  w^e  are  looking  at  the  oppo- 
site side,  our  man  may  keep  the  boat  steady  by  holding  on 
to  a  palm-tree  or  an  arum-plant  which  would  draw  half  the 
people  in  New  York  to  see  it,  if  we  could  set  it  in  one  of 
the  squares. 

And  now  we  turn  into  a  narrow  channel,  a  mere  cleft  in 
the  forest-wall ;  it  is  not  more  than  ten  yards  wide,  but,  as  in 
all  these  forest  streams,  the  depth  is  considerable  ;  hence, 
the  Indians  call  such  channels  igarapes,  literally,  canoe-paths. 
There  is  a  richness  about  all  water-side  vegetation  that  makes 
even  our  northern  woodland  streams  superbly  beautiful  ;  but 
here  the  foliage  is  far  thicker  and  more  varied,  and,  among 
the  dark  leaves,  drooping  palm-fronds  and  great  glossy  wild 
bananas  spread  their  warm  tropical  splendors.  One  thinks 
of  a  temple  :  the  arching  boughs,  the  solemn  cathedral  shade, 
the  sunshine  breaking  through  to  cast  long  trails  on  the  quiet 
waters  and  drop  golden  glories  over  the  tree-trunks  and 
crooked  water-washed  roots,  while  tiny  leaflets  catch  the 
glow  and  shine  like  emeralds  and  diamonds  in  the  dark 
forest  setting.  Even  the  Indian  boatman  dips  his  paddle 
noiselessly,  as  if  he  feared  to  disturb  the  Sabbath  stillness. 
There  is  not  much  of  animal  motion  ;  only  now  and  then  a 
brown  thrush  crosses  the  stream,  or  a  ciiajitd  bird  sounds  his 
shrill  alarm  from  the  tree-tops,  or  great  butterflies  come 
waving  along  like  blue  silken  banners,  casting  vivid  reflec- 
tions in  the  water,  so  bright  are  their  glossy  wings.  But  we 
must  learn  that  solitude,  not  life,  is  the  grand  feature  of 
these  forests. 

The  Breves  swamps  are  a  type  of  that  great  region  which 
I   may  call  the  tide-lowlands.     Nearly  all  the  alluvial  plains 

88  BRAZIL. 

about  the  Para  and  Lower  Tocantins  are  of  this  character  ; 
along  the  southern  side  of  the  Amazons  the  same  features  are 
seen  almost  to  the  Xingii ;  swampy  forests  cover  the  south- 
western half  of  Marajo  ;  and  beyond  the  Amazons  there  are 
other  tracts  on  the  northern  side.  Everywhere  one  finds 
damp  woods  like  these  of  Breves,  with  numberless  palms,* 
abundance  of  rubber-trees,  mangroves  along  the  shores,  and 
so  on.  This  land  is  flooded  every  year,  as  the  rest  of  the 
varzeas  are  ;  but  besides  this,  the  tides  sweep  through  the 
channels  every  day,  and  overflow  much  of  the  ground,  so 
that  it  is  always  wet.  Rich  vegetation  and  fever-breeding 
malaria  depend  alike  on  these  daily  soakings. 

Breves  is  built  on  one  of  those  spots  oi  terra  fir  me  which 
are  found  along  the  southern  and  eastern  side  of  Marajo, 
almost  to  the  ocean.  Most  of  them  are  occupied  by  little 
villages — trading-places  for  rubber  and  cattle.  Beyond  these 
the  whole  island  belongs  to  the  flood-plains,  about  equally 
divided  between  forest  and  meadows.  The  former  is  the 
tide-lowland  region  which  w^e  have  been  exploring ;  the  lat- 
ter occupy  the  northwestern  half  of  the  island — great  level 
reaches,  where  thousands  of  cattle  are  pastured  in  the  dry 
season.  On  the  meadows  there  are  little  clumps  of  trees  at 
long  intervals  ;  sometimes  these  ilhas  de  inato  form  lines  that 
seem  to  be  impenetrable  forests  ;  but  often  the  plain  will  be 
unbroken  to  the  horizon — "  a  tranquil  sea,  where  the  geogra- 

*  The  palms  of  the  tide-lowlands,  so  far  as  I  know  them,  are  as  follows  : 

Mauritia  flexuosa  ;  Irartia  exorrhiza  ; 

Mauritia  carana  ;  ^   Leopoldinia  pulchra  ; 

Euterpe  edulis  ;  .  Desmoncus  sp.  ; 

Bactris  maraja  ;  Rhaphia  tedigera  ; 

Ostrocaryum  murumuru  ;  Manicaria  saccifera. 

CEnocarpus  sp.  (Pindassti)  ; 
The  two  latter  seem  to  be  peculiar  to  this  region. 


pher  can  take  his  astronomical  observations  as  easily  and 
securely  as  on  the  ocean  itself."  * 

The  meadows  themselves  are  flooded  only  during  the 
rainy  months  ;  then  canoes,  and  even  small  steamers,  can 
pass  over  them.  The  cattle  fazendas  are  abandoned  ;  herds 
are  driven  to  the  highest  points  ;  the  few  people  who  care  to 
remain  are  tortured  with  fever  and  mosquitoes,  and  they  can 
only  pass  about  in  canoes.  "  In  half-flooded  places,"  says 
Penna,  "  you  will  sometimes  see  a  small  canoe  tied  to  the 
tail  of  an  ox,  and  dragged  thus  through  the  water,  while  the 
owner  sits  on  board  and  guides  the  animal." 

In  the  dry  season  the  meadows  themselves  are  never 
muddy,  but  they  are  interrupted  here  and  there  by  strips  of 
marsh-land.  These  marshes  are  not  at  all  like  our  Breves 
swamps  ;  they  are  full  of  arborescent  arumst  and  other  broad- 
leaved  plants,  thickets  ten  or  twelve  feet  high  ;  but  there  is 
no  forest,  unless  in  little  patches.  The  swamps  and  chan- 
nels are  the  breeding-places  of  numberless  wading  and  swim- 
ming-birds, and  of  alligators  and  snakes  not  a  few.  Mr. 
Edwards  will  pardon  me  for  quoting  his  bright  description 
of  one  of  these  places  : 

"  Turning  suddenly,  we  left  the  bordering  forest  for  a  cane-brake, 
and  instantly  broke  full  upon  the  rookery.  In  this  part  the  scarlet  ibises, 
particularly,  had  nested  ;  and  the  bended  tops  of  the  canes  were  cov- 
ered by  half-grown  birds  in  their  black  plumage,  interspersed  with 
many  in  all  the  brilliance  of  age.  They  seemed  little  troubled  at  our 
approach,  merely  flying  a  few  steps  forward,  or  crossing  the  stream. 
Continually  the  flocks  increased  in  size  ;  the  red  birds  became  more 
frequent,  the  canes  bent  beneath  their  weight  like  reeds.  Wood-ibises 
and  spoonbills  began  to  be  numerous.     The  nests  of  these  filled  every 

*  D.  S.  Ferreira  Penna :  A  Ilha  de  Marajo,  p.  17. 
t  Caladium  arborescens. 

90  BRAZIL. 

place  where  a  nest  could  be  placed  ;  and  the  young  ibises,  covered 
with  down,  and  standing  like  so  many  storks,  their  heavy  bills  resting 
upon  their  breasts,  and  uttering  no  cry,  were  in  strong  contrast  to  the 
well-feathered  spoonbills,  beautiful  in  their  slightly  roseate  dress,  and 
noisily  loquacious.  Passing  still  onward,  we  emerged  from  the  canes 
into  trees  ;  and  here  the  white  herons  had  made  their  homes,  clouding 
the  leaves  with  white.  We  wandered  a  long  distance  back,  but  the  nests 
seemed,  if  anything,  more  plentiful,  and  the  swarms  of  young  more  dense. 
At  the  sound  of  the  gun  the  birds  in  the  immediate  vicinity  rose  in  a 
tumultuous  flock,  and  the  old  ones  circled  round  and  round,  as  though 
puzzled  to  understand  the  danger  they  instinctively  feared.  In  this  way 
they  offered  beautiful  marks  to  our  skill ;  and  the  shore,  near  the  canoe, 
was  soon  strewed  with  fine  specimens.  Evidently  this  place  had  been 
for  many  years  the  haunt  of  these  birds.  Not  a  blade  of  grass  could  be 
seen  ;  the  ground  was  smooth  and  hard,  and  covered  with  excrement. 

"  Occasionally,  and  not  very  rarely,  a  young  heedless  would  topple 
into  the  water,  from  which  the  noses  of  alligators  were  constantly  pro- 
truded. Buzzards,  also,  upon  the  bank,  sunned  themselves  and  seemed 
at  home  ;  and  not  unfrequently  a  hungry  hawk  would  swoop  down,  and 
away  with  his  prey  almost  unheeded. 

"  It  was  late  when  the  tide  turned,  and  we  hastened  away,  with  the 
canoe  loaded  to  overflowing.  The  birds  seemed  now  collecting  for  the 
night.  Squads  of  bright-colored  ones  were  returning  from  the  shore, 
and  old  and  young  were  settling  on  the  canes  over  the  water,  like  swal- 
lows in  August.  An  alligator  gave  us  an  opportunity  for  a  last  shot,  and 
the  air  was  black  with  the  clouds  of  birds  that  arose,  shrieking  and  cry- 
ing.    I  never  conceived  of  a  cloud  of  birds  before."  * 

Marshes  among  the  meadows  are  called  baixas,  to  dis- 
tinguish them  from  the  forest  swamps,  or  ygapos.  Some- 
times, also,  the  name  vioiidongo  is  used,  but  this  belongs 
especially  to  a  great  marshy  tract  running  through  the  centre 
of  the   island.      It  is  a  dreary  soHtude,  full  of  alligators  and 

*  Edwards  :  A  Voyage  up  the  River  Amazon,  p.  242.     The  book  was  out  of  print 
long  ago  ;  it  deserves  a  new  edition. 



mosquitoes  without  number.  Sr.  Penna  concludes,  with 
much  reason,  that  it  is  an  old  channel  of  the  Amazons, 
which  has  been  filled  up  and  converted  into  swamp.  Most 
of  the  baixas  were  formed  in  the  same  way,  by  the  filling 
in  of  lakes  and  channels,  and  the  invasion  of  aquatic  plants 
over  the  shallows  ;  many  have  been  so  covered  within  his- 
torical times.  There  are  still  a  number  of  small  lakes  ;  a 
larger  one,  Arary,  is  almost  in  the  centre  of  Marajo  ;  within 

At  Breves. 

this  lake  there  is  a  small  island,  celebrated  for  the  ancient 
Indian  utensils  which  are  found  on  it.* 

I  wish  we  had  time  to  explore  the  island  ;  but  the  steam- 
er is  here  to  take  us  away  from  Breves.  We  carry  off  a 
thousand  pleasant  memories,  and,  as  souvenirs,  a  lot  of  the 
fearfully  ugly  painted  pottery  for  which  the  place  is  famous. 

*  Some  of  this  pottery  was  described  and  figured  by  Pro£  C.  F.  Hartt,  in  the 
American  Naturalist,  July,  1871,  and  several  Brazilian  authors  have  treated  of  it. 

92  BRAZIL. 

Our  good  host  comes  down  to  the  wharf  to  see  us  off,  and  to 
assure  us  once  more  that  his  house  is  always  ^^ds  sitas  ordens^' 
whenever  we  care  to  return  to  it.  May  he  always  find  hearts 
as  kindly  as  his  own  !  * 

We  must  travel  all  night  yet,  before  we  emerge  from  the 
Breves  channels  into  the  broad  northern  stream.  But  we 
reach  it  at  last — the  giant  Amazons,  the  river  of  Orellana, 
and  Acufia,  and  Martins — the  river  with  the  destinies  of  a 
continent  in  its  future.  Five  miles  broad  its  yellow  waters 
sweep  toward  the  sea ;  east  and  west  there  are  open  horizons, 
where  the  lines  of  forest  are  lifted  by  the  mirage  and  broken 
into  clumps  and  single  trees  until  they  are  lost  in  the  sky. 
On  either  side  there  may  be  two  or  three  other  channels,  for 
not  a  glimpse  of  northern  or  southern  highland  is  seen  over 
the  dead  level  of  the  varzeas.  No  danger  of  running  aground 
here.  Along  the  sides  our  charts  may  mark  twenty,  thirty, 
forty  fathoms  ;  but  out  in  the  middle  it  is  always  ^^Jia  niidto 
fiindo;  "  in  the  strong  current  the  bottom  is  unattainable  by 
ordinary  instruments.  The  snows  of  half  the  Andes  are 
flowing  here,  the  drainings  of  a  region  as  large  as  the  United 

The  steamer  passes  from  one  side  to  another  as  we  touch 
at  the  river-towns  ;  mere  hamlets,  specks  in  the  wilderness. 
Most  of  them  are  on  the  terra  firme,  but  hardly  raised  above 
the  flood-plains.  Frequently  we  stop  to  take  in  fuel  at  some 
fazenda,  where  the  wood  that  is  put  on  is  counted  slowly, 
stick  by  stick.  After  passing  the  mouth  of  the  Xingu,  we 
see  the  flat-topped  hills  on  the  northern  side,  like  a  line  of 
mountains,  all  cut  off  at  the  same  level. 

They  are  twenty  miles  away  ;  between  them  and  the  main 

*  I  am  glad  to  acknowledge  the  extreme  kindness  of  this  gentleman — Dr.  Lud- 
sero  de  Almeida  Salazar. 


river  there  is  a  great  belt  of  netted  flood-plain — in  this  dis- 
trict, as  on  the  northeastern  part  of  Marajo,  covered,  for  the 
most  part,  with  grass-growth.  Yet  we  do  not  see  this  ;  from 
the  river  there  is  only  the  same  succession  of  forest-lined 
varzeas,  with  banks  cut  so  steeply  that  our  steamer  can  keep 
close  in  shore  ;  sometimes  we  almost  brush  the  foliage.  In 
most  places,  if  w^e  land  from  the  main  river  or  a  side  channel, 
we  find,  not  marshes,  as  at  Breves,  but  comparatively  high 
land,  running  along  the  shore.  The  great  trees  are  festooned 
with  vines,  and  thick-leaved  branches  reach  out  over  the 
water ;  but  there  is  not  much  undergrowth,  and  we  can  easily 
walk  inland.  We  find  that,  after  a  little  space,  the  ground 
slopes  gradually  away  from  the  river  ;  two  or  three  hundred 
yards  from  the  bank  the  belt  of  forest  ceases,  and  we  come 
out  suddenly  on  a  great  stretch  of  meadow,  or  a  lake,  the 
farther  shore  of  which  is  lost  on  the  horizon. 

To  explain  these  features,  we  must  remember  that  the 
islands  and  flats  have  been  formed  by  the  river  itself  Every 
year,  in  February  and  March,  the  Amazons  rises  to  a  height 
of  thirty  feet  or  more  above  its  ordinary  level,  and  overflows 
the  meadow-land  in  all  directions.  Now,  in  the  river,  the 
particles  of  mud  and  clay  are  held  in  suspension  by  the  swift 
current ;  but  as  the  water  flows  over  the  meadows  it  becomes 
quiet,  and  the  particles  sink  to  the  bottom.  Naturally,  the 
coarser  detritus  is  deposited  first,  near  the  river,  and  at  last 
it  builds  up  a  ridge,  as  w^e  have  seen.  When  fully  formed, 
the  top  of  the  ridge,  in  some  places,  is  just  out  of  reach  of 
the  highest  floods.  The  meadows,  being  lower,  are  flooded 
during  several  months.  They  are  alternately  soaked  and 
baked  ;  hence  the  forest  trees  will  not  grow  on  them,  but 
they  flourish  well  on  the  banks,  where  their  roots  are  only 
covered  during  three  or  four  weeks  oi  each  year. 

94  BRAZIL. 

The  raised  borders  are  the  farming-lands  of  the  varzeas. 
Along  the  Middle  Amazons  most  of  the  available  portion  is 
now  private  property.  Corn,  cotton,  sugar-cane  and  to- 
bacco all  grow  well  here  ;  mandioca,  which  on  the  highlands 
requires  more  than  a  year  to  mature  its  roots,  yields  rich 
harvests  on  the  plains  with  six  months  of  the  dry  season. 
But  between  the  Rio  Negro  and  the  Xingii,  the  most  im- 
portant lowland  crop  is  cacao.  It  is  true,  the  trees  will  grow 
quite  as  well,  or  better,  on  the  terra  firme  ;  but  Brazilians 
prefer  the  varzeas  for  their  plantations,  because  the  ground 
is  easily  prepared  and  takes  care  of  itself;  besides,  the  or- 
chard arrives  at  maturity  much  sooner.  We  hardly  notice 
these  cacao  plantations  from  the  river,  the  dark  green  of  the 
foliage  is  so  like  the  forest ;  and  generally  there  are  other 
trees  near  the  shore.  But  for  miles  the  banks  are  lined  with 
them,  mostly  the  orchards  of  small  proprietors,  who  own  a 
few  hundred  pes  of  cacao  ;  some  of  the  estates,  however, 
have  twenty  or  thirty  thousand  trees. 

The  high  varzeas  are  healthful  enough  ;  unlike  the  Breves 
tide-plains,  malarial  fevers  are  not  at  all  common  here.  But 
life  on  the  cacao-plantations  has  one  great  drawback.  All 
the  tigers  and  anacondas  in  Brazil  can  never  compare  to  the 
terror  of  the  mosquitoes  ;  not  one  or  two  serenaders,  piping 
cannily  about  our  ears,  but  swarms  of  them — blood-thirsty 
monsters,  making  straight  at  face  and  hands  with  a  savage 
desire  to  suck  our  life  out  of  us.  At  night  the  houses  must 
be  closed  tightly,  and  even  then  the  little  torments  come 
in  through  every  chink,  making  life  a  burden  to  a  sensitive 
man.  And  yet,  in  justice  to  the  Amazonian  mosquito,  I 
must  say  that  I  have  never  found  his  bite  half  so  virulent  as 
that  of  his  cousin  in  the  Jersey  swamps  ;  after  a  day  in  the 
forest,  where  one  is  constantly  exposed  to  their  attacks,  all 


irritation  is  removed  by  a  cold-water  bath.  Nor  must  one 
infer  that  these  pests  are  everywhere ;  they  keep  to  the 
woods,  only  coming  out  at  night ;  at  Para  and  Breves  we 
saw  very  few  of  them,  and  in  the  thick  forest  of  the  high- 
lands, away  from  the  channels,  they  are  hardly  noticed. 

Back  from  the  river  we  can  ride  for  miles  over  the  great 
breezy  meadows,  only  we  must  make  long  detours  to  avoid 
the  lakes  and  swampy  forests  and  clumps  of  shield-leaved 
arums.  There  are  a  thousand  beautiful  things  to  see  on  these 
campos  ;  bright  yellow  and  white  flowers  dotting  the  surface, 
pretty  warblers  and  finches,  and  whistling  black  japiis,  little 
fishes  in  the  pools,  and  brilliant  dragon-flies  entomologizing 
over  the  reeds  ;  drooping  bushes  with  wonderfully  delicate, 
feathery  leaves  all  spread  out  gratefully  to  the  sun  ;  but  if 
you  jar  the  branch  roughly,  they  close  and  bend  down  in  sad, 
mute  remonstrance,  the  protest  of  their  helplessness  against 
our  brute  strength.  I  must  needs  be  tender  with  the  sen- 
sitive plants  ;  there  must  be  a  higher  power  than  mine 
watching  over  them.  For  every  night  they  fold  their  hands 
and  bow  their  heads  in  silent  prayer,  and  so  sleep  calmly 
under  the  gentle  dews  ;  every  morning  they  lift  themselves, 
with  silver  tears  of  thanksgiving,  to  the  bright  sunshine  and 
the  soft  east  wind. 

Near  the  main  channels  the  meadows  are  much  broken  by 
these  bushes  and  swamps  ;  but  far  back,  and  sheltered  in  bays 
of  the  highland,  they  are  as  level  and  clean  as  a  wheat-field, 
bright  velvety  green,  rippling  with  the  wind  like  a  great  lake. 
Everywhere  the  grass  is  dotted  with  cattle.  Such  places,  in- 
deed, owe  their  beauty  to  the  yearly  fires  with  which  the 
herdsmen  cleanse  their  surface.  They  are  the  favorite  pas- 
tures, and  most  of  them  have  been  absorbed  into  the  es- 
tates of  large  proprietors. 



Climbing  the  heights  of  Monte  Alegre,  we  look  off  over 
great  stretches  of  the  meadow-land,  threaded  by  channels, 
and  dotted  with  little  quiet  lakes.  The  eye  strives  in  vain  to 
unravel  the  intricacies  of  this  vast  net-work.  The  lakes  are 
mere  shallow  depressions  in  the  meadow-land  ;  some  of  them 
dry  up  entirely  in  September  and  October,  or  remain  only 
as  rows  of  pools  and  swampy  flats  ;  many,  even  of  the  larger 
ones,  are  so  shallow  that  in  the  dry  season  canoes  are  poled 
across  them  ;  five  miles  from  shore  a  man  can  stand  on  the 
bottom  with  head  and  shoulders  above  water,  and  one  might 
wade  across,  but  for  the  alligators  and  the  fierce  little  cannibal 

The  smaller  lakes  are  innumerable  ;  in  fact,  there  is  every 
gradation  in   size,  down  to  pools  and  puddles.      Sometimes 

Victoria  regia. 

our  canoe-men  can  hardly  push  their  way  through  the  thick 
growth  of  aquatic  plants  ;  or,  where  the  waters  are  still,  we 
hold  our  breath  to  see  the  eight-feet-broad  leaves  of  the  Vic- 
toria regia,  and  its  superb  white  and  rosy  flowers.*     Nearly 

*  I  have  measured  flowers  which  were  eleven  and  one-half  inches  in  diameter. 


all  the  lakes  are  connected  with  the  rivers,  often  by  very 
long  and  tortuous  channels — forest-covered  creeks,  or  pas- 
sages in  the  open  meadow,  or  wider  igarape's  lined  with  soft 
plumy  bamboos  and  graceful  carand  and  javary  palms. 
Where  the  banks  are  shelving,  great  flocks  of  herons  gather 
to  fish  in  the  shallow  water,  flying  up  in  snowy  clouds  before 
the  canoe  ;  roseate  spoonbills  spread  their  wings  like  flashes 
of  sunset;  egrets  and  bitterns  hide  in  the  tall  grass.  I  love 
best  to  pass  through  these  channels  in  the  early  morning, 
when  the  palm-tops  are  sharply  defined  against  the  deep 
blue  sky,  and  the  bamboos  look  white  in  contrast  to  the 
shadows  beneath  them,  and  the  rising  sun  intensifies  the  pic- 
ture with  its  wonderful  richness  of  light  and  color.  Then  the 
wind  blows  freshly  across  the  meadows,  rippling  the  young 
grass  ;  parrots  and  macaws  come  flying  over  the  lowland  in 
pairs,  screaming  loudly;  toucans  call  from  the  solitary  trees, 
and  small  birds  innumerable  keep  up  a  ringing  concert. 
They  are  all  so  happy  to  see  the  day,  so  brimming  over  with 
the  gladness  of  life  ! 

Heaven  forgive  me  for  my  ingratitude  !  Even  among  the 
home  friends  I  am  forever  panting  to  get  back  to  my  forests 
and  streams.  I  am  half  minded  to  buy  a  wooden  canoe  and 
a  fishing  spear  of  the  first  Indian  we  meet,  and  to  go  sailing 
away,  away,  among  the  crooked  channels  and  sunny  lakes, 
until  I  lose  myself  in  their  intricacies.  One  could  live  a  her- 
mit, and  plant  mandioca,  and  catch  fish  as  the  Indians  do, 
and  be  at  rest.  Ah  well  !  I  know  that  there  are  blood- 
thirsty mosquitoes  there,  and  fevers  in  the  swamps,  and 
dreary  solitudes  everywhere.  I  know  that  I  would  die  in  a 
month  of  fatigue  and  exposure.  I  must  needs  content  my- 
self, with  the  rest,  watching  the  fishermen  and  half  envying 

them  in  my  heart. 



In  the  summer  the  Indians  come  by  hundreds  to  the  lakes 
and  channels,  to  fish  for  the  ^x^-dX pirarucily'^  and  to  prepare 
the  flesh,  just  as  codfish  is  prepared  on  the  Newfoundland 
banks.  They  build  little  huts  along  the  shores  ;  trading 
canoes  come  with  their  stock  of  cheap  wares  to  barter  for  the 
fish,  and  a  kind  of  aquatic  community  is  formed,  which  breaks 
up  with  the  January  floods. 

Besides  the  pirarucu,  the  lakes  swarm  with  smaller  fishes 
innumerable.     The  Indians  catch  them  with  a  line,  or  spear 

The  Pirarucu  Fisher. 

them  with  tridents  ;  in  the  small  streams  they  are  shot  with 
arrows — an  art  which  requires  peculiar  skill,  since  one  must 
allow  for  the  refraction  of  the  water.  Even  the  little  brown 
urchins  take  lessons  by  hooking  the  \\Mw%ry  piranJias,  which 
will  bite  at  anything,  from  a  bit  of  salt  meat  to  a  bather's  toe. 

*  Sudis. 


Our  northern  trout-fishers  are  scandalized  to  see  these  boys 
thrashing  the  water  with  their  poles  to  attract  the  piranhas. 

This  is  the  dry  season,  the  time  of  plenty.  With  the  heavier 
rains  of  January  the  river  rises  rapidly  ;  by  March  it  has 
overspread  the  lowlands  like  a  sea,  a  vast  sheet,  two  thousand 
miles  long  and  thirty  or  forty  in  average  width,  with  only 
lines  of  forest  and  floating  grass  marking  the  limits  of  lakes 
and  channels  ;  canoes  pass  almost  straight  across,  the  men 
pushing  with  poles  through  the  floating  grass  ;  '*  a  voyage 
overland,"  Mrs.  Agassiz  called  it.  At  the  height  of  the 
flood-season,  even  the  raised  borders  are  submerged,  ex- 
cept little  spots  where  the  planters  build  their  houses. 

Many  of  the  meadow-plants  are  in  bloom  at  this  time  ; 
yellow,  crimson,  white,  dotting  the  water  like  stars.  Every- 
where, too,  the  floating  grass  swarms  with  animal  life.  There 
are  the  brown  *'  ramrod  zYiic^^^vi'^,'' piassoccas*  running  across 
the  lily-leaves  ;  their  long  toes  spread  over  a  large  surface,  so 
that  they  do  not  sink.  Herons  and  egrets  have  retired  to 
the  main-land,  but  there  are  plenty  of  warblers  and  tanagers 
about  the  reeds  ;  great  dragon-flies  dart  about,  or  sit  watch- 
fully on  the  very  tip  of  a  twig ;  the  agrions,  their  slender 
cousins,  cling  to  grass-stalks,  and  you  may  see  them  crawling 
down  into  the  water  to  lay  their  eggs,  their  pretty  wings 
glistening  the  while  like  silver.  At  the  bases  of  the  leaves 
there  are  beetles,  Carabidce  and  Steni,  which  at  the  north  live 
along  muddy  shores ;  pale,  slender  locusts  also,  and  katydids, 
well  concealed  by  their  colors.  These  lie  still  all  day,  but 
at  night  they  are  uproarious,  singing  treble  to  the  bass  of 
frogs  and  the  tenor  of  crickets.  Brilliant  spiders  spin  webs 
for  the  unwary  green  flies.     Whole  colonies  of  the  little  red 

*  Parrajacana. 


fire-ants  are  driven  out  of  their  nests  ;  they  collect  in  balls  on 
the  tips  of  grass-stalks,  and  so  live,  uncomfortably,  until  the 
waters  subside  ;  *  they  swarm  over  our  canoe  at  times,  and 
punish  us  savagely  with  their  red-hot  stings.  The  water, 
filtered  through  the  grass,  is  very  clear,  and  wholesome  to 
drink.  Down  among  the  stalks  we  see  the  fish  moving  about : 
slender  sarapos,  acaris  in  bony  armor,  and  numbers  of  bril- 
liantly colored  Cyprinodonts.  As  the  waters  recede,  many  of 
these  remain  in  pools  about  the  meadows,  and  the  Indians 
catch  them  by  scores  in  nets  or  baskets. 

Above  Obidos  the  flood-plain  is  occupied  by  swampy 
forest — ygCLpo  the  Indians  call  it — much  like  that  about 
Breves  ;  but  this,  of  course,  is  out  of  reach  of  the  tides. 
Every  year  it  is  flooded  ;  then  boats  pass  through  everywhere 
between  the  tree-trunks.  Mr.  Wallace  speaks  of  such  a 

"  On  crossing  the  Rio  Negro  from  Barra,  we  entered  a  tract  of  this 
description.  Our  canoe  was  forced  under  branches  and  among  dense 
bushes,  till  we  got  into  a  part  where  the  trees  were  loftier  and  a  deep 
gloom  prevailed.  Here  the  lowest  branches  were  level  with  the  surface 
of  the  water,  and  many  of  them  were  putting  forth  flowers.  As  we  pro- 
ceeded, we  sometimes  came  to  a  grove  of  small  palms,  and  among  them 
was  the  maraja,  bearing  bunches  of  agreeable  fruit,  which,  as  we  passed, 
the  Indians  cut  off  with  their  long  knives.  Sometimes  the  rustling  of 
leaves  overhead  told  us  that  monkeys  were  near,  and  we  would  soon,  per- 
haps, discover  them  peeping  down  from  among  the  thick  foliage,  and 
then  bounding  away  as  soon  as  we  had  caught  a  glimpse  of  them.  Pres- 
ently we  came  out  into  the  sunshine,  in  a  little  grassy  lake  filled  with 
lilies  and  beautiful  water-plants  :  little  yellow  bladder-worts  {Utricula- 
7'ias),  and  the  bright  blue  flowers,  and  curious  leaves  with  swollen  stalks, 
of  the  Po7itederias.  Again  in  the  gloom  of  the  forest,  among  the  lofty 
cylindrical  trunks  rising  like  columns  out  of  the  deep  water  ;  now  a  splash- 

*  Myrmica  Saevissima.     A  similar  habit  is  recorded  of  an  African  ant. 


ing  of  falling  fruit  around  us  would  announce  that  birds  were  feeding  over- 
head, and  we  would  discover  a  flock  of  paroquets,  or  some  bright  blue 
chatterers,  or  the  lovely  pompadour,  with  its  delicate  white  wings  and 
claret-colored  plumage  ;  now,  with  a  w^hirr,  a  trogon  would  seize  a  fruit 
on  the  wing,  or  some  clumsy  toucan  would  make  the  branches  shake  as 
he  alighted. 

"  In  the  ygapo  peculiar  animals  are  found,  attracted  by  the  trees 
which  grow  only  there.  Many  species  of  trogons  are  found  only  here  ; 
others  in  the  dry  virgin  forest.  The  umbrella  chatterer  is  entirely  con- 
fined to  the  ygap6,  as  is  also  the  little  bristle-tailed  manakin.  Some 
monkeys  are  found  here  only  in  the  wet  season,  and  whole  tribes  of 
Indians,  such  as  the  Purupurus  and  Muras,  entirely  inhabit  it,  building 
small,  easily  removable  huts,  on  the  sandy  shores  in  the  dry  season,  and 
on  rafts  in  the  wet  ;  spending  a  great  part  of  their  lives  in  canoes,  sleep- 
ing suspended  in  rude  hammocks  from  trees  over  the  deep  water,  culti- 
vating no  vegetables,  but  subsisting  entirely  on  the  fish,  turtle,  and  cow- 
fish  which  they  obtain  from  the  river."  * 

To  recapitulate  :  We  have  found  three  great  divisions 
of  the  river-plain — the  tide-lowlands,  the  forest-lined  varzea 
meadows,  and  the  flooded  woods  of  the  Upper  Amazons. 
Of  these,  the  first  is  pretty  well  defined  by  its  geographical 
position  about  the  mouth  of  the  river.  The  varzea  meadows 
occupy  all  the  rest  of  the  Lower  Amazons,  and  as  far  up  at 
least  as  Obidos ;  they  are  generally  bordered  with  woods,  as 
we  have  seen,  and  these  woods  are  composed  of  a  different 
set  of  trees  from  those  of  the  tide-lowlands,  or  the  Upper 
Amazons  ygapos  ;  to  this  class,  also,  belong  the  ilhas  de 
mato,  isolated  clumps  of  higher  forest  in  the  meadows ;  and 
even  large  islands  may  be  covered  with  a  similar  growth. 
The  third  division,  that  of  ygapos,  occupies  nearly  all  of  the 
Upper  Amazons  flood-plain  ;  but  there  are  occasional  strips 
of  grass-land  interspersed,  and,   vice  versa,  spots  of  ygapo 

*  Amazon  and  Rio  Negro,  p.  176. 


occur  in  the  varzea  meadows  below,  where  lakes  have  been 
filled  in  ;  beyond  this,  the  division  is  very  well  marked.  The 
trees  of  the  ygapo  are  in  great  part  like  those  of  the  tide-low- 
lands, but  each  division  has  a  few  peculiar  species.  Of  course, 
there  are  subdivisions  without  number,  depending  on  slight 
differences  of  level,  and  the  nearness  to  or  distance  from 
the  river ;  but  we  need  not  concern  ourselves  with  these  at 

The  w^hole  flora  of  the  lowland  is  distinct  from  that  of  the 
terra  firme.  Only  in  swamps  of  the  highland,  and  along 
streams,  we  find  a  few  of  the  varzea  trees,  and  there  are  rare 
exceptions  of  species  that  grow  indifferently  on  all  sorts  of 

Comparing  the  varzea  trees  with  those  of  the  terra  firme, 
we  are  struck  at  once  with  their  general  resemblance.  The 
species  are  different,  but  the  genera  are  commonly  the  same. 
The  Indians  recognized  this  long  ago  ;  they  classify  trees, 
but  distinguish  them  closely.  Thus,  your  woodsman  will 
tell  of  one  taixi  on  the  varzea,  and  another  on  the  highland; 
there  are  varzea  cedros,\  ingds.X  and  so  on.  Among  palms 
the  familiar  varzea  y^z^^^rj  §  can  hardly  be  distinguished  by  a 
novice  from  the  highland  tiLcinnd ;  \  and  the  low  curiids\  of 
the  dry  forest  are  represented  by  the  tall  iiriiciiry  *  *  of  the 
raised  borders.  We  might  find  a  hundred  more  instances 
among  trees,  and  not  a  few  with  smaller  plants,  and  even 
animals  ;  thus,  the  varzea  sloth  is  different  from  the  terra- 
firme  species,  and  one  of  the  large  jaguars  belongs  properly 
to  the  lowland.  We  have  seen  what  Mr.  Wallace  says  of  the 

*  E.  g. ,  the  Sapucaia^  Lecythis  ollaria.  t  Cedrela,  sp.  %  Inga,  sp.  var. 

§  Astrocaryum  javari.  ||  Astrocaryum  tucuma. 

TI  Attalea,  sp.  var.  **  Attalea  excelsa. 


I  suppose  that  the  lowland  woods  have  been  produced  by 
a  gradual  modification  of  highland  species — a  fitting  for  the 
half-submerged  life  that  they  lead,  just  as  the  tropical  sheep 
has  lost  his  wool,  and  the  dog  has  turned  white  in  Greenland. 
How  many  thousand  years  have  been  occupied  in  this  change 
we  cannot  tell ;  a  long  time  it  must  have  been,  for  the  differ- 
ence is  strongly  marked. 

A  large  proportion  of  the  lowland  animals  are  different 
from  those  of  the  terra  firme  ;  a  certain  number  are  found 
indifferently  in  both  regions,  but  in  this  case  they  generally 
show  a  marked  preference  for  one  or  the  other.  This  is  pre- 
cisely what  we  would  look  for.  Animals  wander  about ;  not 
being  confined  to  one  region,  they  are  not  obliged  to  conform 
themselves  to  the  physical  condition  of  that  region,  as  plants 
are  ;  but  they  frequent  highland  or  lowland  by  preference, 
because  the  ground  suits  them,  or  their  food  is  more  abun- 
dant there. 

Still,  the  difference  between  the  two  faunas  is  very  strongly 
marked.  I  remember  my  surprise  when  I  first  explored  the 
varzeas  and  learned  this  difference.  I  had  been  living  on 
the  highlands  of  Santarem,  for  six  months  or  more,  col- 
lecting insects  through  the  dry  woods,  so  that  I  was  pretty 
familiar  with  this  side  of  tropical  life.  One  day  I  hired  an 
Indian  boy  to  set  me  across  the  river  in  a  canoe ;  there  were 
some  low  islands  there,  with  meadows  and  scattered  trees  ; 
the  place  looked  so  unproductive  for  my  work  that  I  was 
about  to  content  myself  with  a  few  shells  and  edible  crabs 
from  the  river-banks  ;  but  some  curious  beetles  that  I  found 
tempted  me  over  the  meadows,  and  so,  in  the  end,  I  filled 
my  bottles  with  insects,  and  got  some  valuable  information 
besides.  If  this  day's  collection  had  been  made  on  the  other 
side  of  the  ocean,  it  could  not  have  been  more  completely 


different  from  the  set  that  I  was  accustomed  to.  And  though 
I  afterward  found  many  species  that  were  common  to  the 
high  and  low  lands,  I  learned  to  separate  the  two  sets  very 

In  our  walks  over  the  varzea  plains  we  may  possibly  see 
a  deer,  or  a  tapir,  or  a  red  panther,  but  they  are  only  visitors  ; 
properly  their  home  is  on  the  terra  firme.  The  spotted  ja- 
guar *  belongs  here  of  right  ;  he  is  a  fisherman  as  well  as  a 
hu-nter,  and,  though  he  often  wanders  on  the  highland,  you 
never  find  him  far  from  water.  The  Indians  have  a  curious 
story  about  his  fishing.  The  jaguar,  they  say,  comes  at 
night  and  crouches  on  a  log  or  branch  over  the  water  ;  he 
raps  the  surface  with  his  tail,  gently,  and  the  tainbakis,  or 
other  fruit-eating  fish,  come  to  the  sound,  when  he  knocks 
them  out  with  his  paw.  I  do  not  take  it  upon  myself  to  say 
that  this  story  is  true,  but  I  have  heard  it  from  all  sides,  and 
from  persons  who  aver  that  they  have  seen  the  fishing. f 

T\\^ prcgo  monkey:]:  also  frequents  the  lowlands  by  pref- 
erence, as  the  planters  know  too  well ;  in  the  cacao-orchards 
it  is  an  arrant  thief,  and,  not  content  with  eating  what  it 
wants,  it  breaks  and  scatters  the  fruit  out  of  pure  mischief. 
Other  monkeys  are  found  here  at  times — one  or  two  seem 
to  be  pecuHar  to  the  ygapos  of  the  Upper  Amazons. 

Beyond  these,  we  meet  with  two  mammalian  animals  that 
are  entirely  confined  to  the  flood-plain.  The  first  is  a  sloth, § 
the  one  that  we  have  already  spoken  of,  clearly  related  to  the 

*  Felis  on(^a.     We  shall  discuss  the  Felidcc  more  fully  in  another  chapter. 

+  They  say,  also,  that  the  jaguar  eats  off  the  alligator's  tail,  the  reptile  submit- 
ting to  this  mutilation  as  a  mouse  submits  to  a  cat,  from  mere  stupefaction.  It  is 
certain  that  curtailed  alligators  are  found,  and,  improbable  as  the  story  seems,  it 
may  be  true.     See,  also,  Wallace  :  Travels  on  the  Amazon  and  Rio  Negro,  p.  456 

X  Cebus  cirrhifer  ?  §  Bradypus  infuscatus. 


highland  species,  but  quite  distinct  from  it.  We  sometimes 
see  the  creatures  on  boughs  of  the  cecropia-trees,  hanging 
head  downward,  and  lazily  eating  the  leaves.  The  other 
animal  is  a  remarkable  one  in  many  respects  :  capiitdra,  the 
Indians  call  it,  and  its  English  name,  if  it  has  any,  is  a  cor- 
ruption from  this — capybara*  It  is  a  great,  brown,  stupid- 
looking  animal,  in  shape  much  like  a  magnified  prairie-dog. 
It  is  semi-aquatic  ;  the  Indians  hunt  it,  sometimes,  but  the 
flesh  is  little  esteemed  ;  consequently  the  animal  is  very  abun- 
dant, and  ridiculously  tame.  Often  we  see  them  by  twos 
and  threes,  wading  and  diving  in  the  thick  floating  grass,  or 
running  about  the  shores,  often  feeding  with  the  horses  and 
cattle,  who  pay  no  attention  to  them.  I  have  been  nearly 
knocked  over  by  a  capybara  which  ran  past  me  in  a  clump 
of  high  grass. 

To  our  list  of  varzea  mammalia  we  might  add  the  Amazo- 
nian otter, t  which  we  often  see  swimming  in  the  channels,  or 
climbing  the  banks,  the  pretty  brown  coats  always  shining 
and  smooth  as  if  they  were  oiled.  But  this  animal  is  properly 
aquatic,  and  lives  indiflerently  in  the  Amazons  or  in  streams 
which  run  through  high  ground.  On  land,  I  think  that  it 
prefers  rocky  shores. 

Of  the  lowland  birds,  we  shall  find  that  a  large  proportion 
are  different  from  terra-firme  forms  ;  not  only  the  wading  and 
swimming  species,  such  as  we  see  about  the  channels,  but  a 
great  many  arboreal  kinds  also.  So  with  reptiles  and  batra- 
chians  :  there  are  semi-aquatic  snakes  in  the  meadows,  spe- 
cies that  are  never  found  in  the  dry  woods ;  at  night  we  hear 
the  lowland  frogs  piping  in  one  chorus,  but  the  highland 
toads  have  quite  another  one.     We  might  even  make  a  dis- 

•  Hydrochaerus  capybara.  t  Lutra  Brasiliensis. 


tinction  of  the  fishes :  there  are  species  that  Hve  on  a  muddy 
bottom,  as  in  the  varzea  channels,  and  others  that  swim  by 
rocky  shores. 

Insects  depend  on  the  plants  that  they  feed  upon,  or  the 
ground  they  live  on  ;  so  a  vast  proportion  of  the  lowland 
forms  are  distinct  from  those  of  the  terra  firme;  and  here,  as 
among  plants,  we  find  many  true  "  representative  species," 
allied  to  the  highland  ones.  The  insects  that  are  found  on 
both  high  and  low  land  are  either  those  that  feed  on  more 
than  one  kind  of  plant,  or  wandering,  predaceous  species,  that 
live  in  trees,  and  so  can  keep  out  of  reach  of  the  floods. 
Most  of  these  bright-colored  leaping  spiders,  that  we  see  on 
the  leaves,  are  wandering  forms,  and  they  are  cosmopolites  ; 
but  the  web-building  species  are  peculiar  to  varzea  or  terra 
firme.  The  handsome  green  and  red  dragon-flies  over  the 
meadows  are  true  varzea  forms  ;  their  larvae  live  in  water, 
and  only  in  quiet  pools,  where  the  bottom  is  of  mud  ;  on 
rapid  highland  streams  we  shall  find  other  kinds.  One 
pretty  white  moth  we  find  in  abundance  on  the  grass ;  its 
hairy  caterpillars,  instead  of  feeding  on  leaves,  live  in  the 
water  ;  when  the  meadows  are  flooded,  we  can  see  them 
wriggling  about  among  the  stalks  hke  eels. 

There  are  three  products  of  the  lowland  that  have  risen  to 
commercial  importance,  and  these  three,  at  present,  outrank 
ah  others  on  the  Amazons.  Rubber  is  the  largest  export 
of  Para  ;  next  comes  cacao  ;  and  though  hides  stand  fourth 
among  the  exports,  the  grazing  industry  is  really  third  in  im- 
portance.     It  will  be  well,  then,  for  us  to  review  these  three. 

Twenty  million  pounds  of  rubber,  valued  at  six  million 
dollars,  are  annually  exported  from  Para.  But  the  business 
is   altogether  a  ruinous   one  for  the  province,  as  Brazilians 


themselves  are  fully  aware.  The  seringiLeiro,  who  gains  two 
or  three  dollars  from  a  single  day's  gathering,  has  enough,  as 
life  goes  here,  to  keep  him  in  idleness  for  a  week  ;  and  when 
his  money  is  spent,  he  can  draw  again  on  his  ever-ready 
bank.  It  is  so  with  all  the  forest  industries  ;  they  encourage 
idleness,  and  draw  workmen  from  agricultural  employments, 
and  retard  civilization  by  keeping  the  Indian  and  half-breed 
population  away  from  villages  and  schools,  yet  not  from  the 
worst  side  of  white  life.  The  traders  have  consciences  as 
elastic  as  the  rubber  they  buy.  Generally  they  sell  goods  on 
credit,  and  when  the  poor,  ignorant  people  come  to  pay  in 
produce,  they  come  to  a  tyrant,  who  will  charge  them  twenty 
milreis  where  they  owe  ten  ;  who  will  force  them  to  work  for 
him,  though  he  has  no  legal  right  to  their  services  ;  who  will 
sell  them  inferior  goods  at  high  prices,  and  take  their  pro- 
duce at  low  ones.  In  this  way  one  can  see  how  even  the 
small  merchants  manage  to  live.  For  instance,  one  of  them 
buys  a  coarse  German  wood-knife,  which  may  cost  him 
seventy-five  cents.  He  sells  this  as  an  American  article,  for 
two  dollars  ;  takes  his  pay  in  rubber  at  sixty-five  cents  the 
kilogram,  and  sells  the  latter  for  seventy-five  cents  the  kilo- 
gram, with  a  sure  market ;  total  profit,  over  two  hundred 
per  cent.,  and  that  when  the  trade  is  honesto.  They  tell  of 
one  trader  who  carried  to  the  river  Tapajds  a  box  of  play- 
ing cards,  which  he  was  unable  to  sell,  because  the  Indians 
did  not  know  their  use  ;  so  this  Christian  gentleman  picked 
out  all  the  face-cards,  and  sold  them  as  saints,  at  fifty  cents 
each.  So  the  story  goes,  and  the  man  does  not  deny  it ; 
but,  in  justice  to  human  nature,  I  prefer  to  doubt  its  entire 

The  credit  system  is  ruining    the  whole    industry.     The 
mameluco  gatherer,  who  is   in  debt  to  the  patrdo,  is  only  a 


link  of  the  chain.  The  small  traders  commonly  get  their 
goods  on  credit,  from  proprietors  in  the  river  towns,  to  whom 
they  must  sell  all  their  rubber;  and  these,  in  turn,  are  gov- 
erned by  trade-princes  in  Para.  It  is  not  too  much  to  say 
that  the  whole  vast  industry  is  under  the  control  of  ten  or 
twelve  men,  who  manipulate  as  they  please,  of  course  to 
their  own  advantage.  The  Para  merchant  may  gain  ten  per 
cent,  by  the  rubber  directly,  but  a  great  deal  more,  indi- 
rectly, by  his  sales  to  the  traders. 

The  export  duties  are  very  heavy  ;  Brazil,  having  almost 
a  monopoly  of  the  trade,  can  tax  it  as  she  pleases.  Rubber 
now  pays  twenty-three  and  one-half  per  cent,  ad  valorem^ 
on  leaving  Para  ;  and  if  it  comes  from  the  Upper  Amazons, 
it  must  also  pay  thirteen  per  cent,  on  passing  from  one 
province  to  the  other. 

The  half-wild  seringiieiros  will  go  on,  submitting  to  im- 
positions and  dying  in  the  swamps,  until  Brazilians  learn 
that,  by  purchasing  this  land  from  the  government  and  plant- 
ing it  in  rubber-trees,  they  can  insure  vastly  larger  profits, 
and  do  away  with  the  evils  of  the  present  system.  It  is  what 
must  eventually  be  done.  The  rubber-gatherers,  in  their 
eagerness  to  secure  large  harvests,  have  already  killed  an 
immense  number  of  trees  about  the  Para  estuary ;  they  have 
been  obliged  to  penetrate  farther  and  farther  into  the  forest, 
to  the  Tocantins,  Madeira,  Purus,  Rio  Negro;  and  eventually 
even  these  regions  must  be  exhausted,  unless  they  are  pro- 
tected in  some  way.  The  trees,  properly  planted  and  cared 
for,  will  yield  well  in  fifteen  years,  and,  of  course,  the  expense 
of  gathering  would  be  vastly  reduced  in  a  compact  plantation; 
half  the  labor  of  the  rubber-collector  consists  in  his  long 
tramps  through  the  swampy  forest.  At  present,  some  of  the 
swamps  are  owned,  either  nominally  or  really,  by  private  in- 


dividuals,  but  their  claims  are  not  very  well  established  ;  on 
the  upper  rivers,  by  far  the  greater  portion  are  still  govern- 
ment property.  There  is,  however,  a  kind  of  preemption  of 
public  land,  by  which  any  one  can  secure  the  sole  tise  of 
a  rubber-swamp,  of  any  extent  that  he  can  manage,  and  for 
any  period,  but  without  having  an  absolute  proprietorship  ; 
if  he  deserts  the  ground,  another  man  can  take  it  up  without 
hinderance.  Land  can  be  purchased  outright,  at  rates  varying 
from  thirty  cents  to  seventy-five  cents  per  acre,  but  there  are 
extra  charges  for  surveying. 

On  the  Madeira  and  Purus  the  business  is  conducted  by 
large  proprietors,  who  live,  it  is  true,  in  princely  style  ;  but 
it  is  a  notorious  fact  that  nearly  all  of  them  are  deeply  in 
debt,  far  beyond  their  power  to  pay.  They  preempt  a  tract 
of  ground,  bring  forty  or  fifty  Indian  gatherers  from  Bolivia, 
under  contract  to  work  for  a  certain  period,  get  them  into 
debt  after  a  few  months,  and  so  establish  a  kind  of  feudal 
proprietorship,  which  is  under  the  ultimate  and  absolute  con- 
trol of  the  grand  seignior  at  Para. 

The  present  method  of  preparation  from  the  milk  is  not 
very  satisfactory  ;  the  product  is  more  or  less  impure  from 
the  smoke,  and  it  must  be  cleaned  in  the  manufactories. 
One  Strauss,  a  German,  invented  an  improved  process  of 
preparation,  and  sold  his  secret  to  the  provincial  govern- 
ment. The  method  consists  simply  in  dropping  the  rubber 
milk  into  a  solution  of  alum.  I  do  not  know  what  are  the 
advantages  or  disadvantages  of  the  Strauss  system  ;  certainly 
it  has  never  been  carried  out  on  a  large  scale,  and  the  prov- 
ince never  received  any  return  for  its  outlay.  There  are 
other  improved  methods  ;  but  the  rubber-men  are  opposed 
to  innovations,  so  the  work  goes  on  in  the  old  rut.  Very  few 
Brazilians  would  have  the  patience  to  wait  fifteen  years  for  a 


rubber  crop,  and  it  is  very  hard  for  them  to  see  the  profit  of 
an  expensive  improvement. 

They  must  submit  to  improvement,  or  the  trade  will  slip 
out  of  their  hands  :  there  is  a  powerful  rival  in  the  field.  Not 
long  ago  a  large  quantity  of  rubber-seeds  were  carried  to 
England  :  planted  there,  in  the  public  conservatories,  a  few 
of  them  produced  healthy  young  plants,  which  were  sent  to 
India  and  transplanted  along  the  lowlands  of  certain  rivers  ; 
and  as  India  is  already  threatening  Peru  with  the  loss  of  her 
cinchona  monopoly,  so  she  may  ere  long  rob  Brazil  of  the 
rubber  industry,  unless  immediate  steps  are  taken  to  improve 
and  protect  it. 

The  cacao  industry  is  almost  entirely  confined  to  the 
lowland,  as  we  have  seen.  In  selecting  his  ground  for  an 
orchard,  the  planter  must  take  care  that  it  is  not  so  low  as 
to  be  subject  to  long  floods ;  in  general,  land  where  the  great 
tLvucuiy  palm  grows  may  be  used  without  fear.  Such  high 
borders  are  generally  found  only  on  one  side  of  a  channel — 
the  concave  shore  ;  hence,  in  passing  along  the  river,  we  often 
see  cacao  orchards  on  one  hand,  while  on  the  other  there 
may  be  low,  swampy  forest,  or  open  meadow.  The  cutting 
for  a  plantation  is  done  at  the  end  of  the  rainy  season,  and 
the  logs  are  left  to  dry  in  the  sun  for  two  or  three  months, 
until  they  can  be  burned.  Beyond  this  the  ground  under- 
goes very  little  preparation  ;  the  seeds  are  placed,  several 
together,  in  shallow  holes,  arranged  in  rows  at  pretty  regular 
intervals  of  about  forty  feet ;  this  work  is  done  at  the  end  of 
the  rainy  season  succeeding  the  preparation  of  ground.  The 
rest  is  a  mere  bagatelle.  Our  planter  keeps  his  young  or- 
chard free  from  second  growth,  until  the  trees  can  protect  the 
ground  by  their  own  shade,  which  will  be  in  three  or  four 
years.     By  the  fifth  year  they  begin  to  bear  pretty  freely, 


and  their  tops  have  formed  a  thick  roof,  perfectly  impervious 
to  the  sun.  In  our  wanderings  about  the  lowland  we  often 
pass  through  these  cacoacs.  They  have  a  rich  beauty  of 
their  own — the  dense  foliage,  the  twilight  shade  beneath,  and 
the  dark  stems,  four  or  five  together,  with  the  fruit  growing, 
not  among  the  leaves,  but  directly  from  the  trunk  and  main 
branches,  attached  only  by  a  short  stem.  The  ground  is 
quite  clear,  and  free  from  underbrush,  and  in  the  summer, 
when  the  fruit  is  gathered,  is  for  the  most  part  dry.  The 
harvest  months  are  July  and  August,  when  the  gatherers  go 
every  day  to  pick  the  ripe  fruit  from  each  tree  and  bring  it  in 
baskets  to  the  house.  There  the  oval,  ribbed  outer  shell  is 
cut  open,  and  the  seeds  are  washed  from  the  white  pulp  ; 
then  they  are  spread  over  mats,  and  placed  on  raised  stagings 
to  dry  in  the  sun,  care  being  taken  to  turn  them  at  intervals. 
Most  of  the  seed  is  exported  in  this  form  ;  a  little  is  roasted, 
pounded,  and  made  into  cakes  with  melted  sugar,  for  the 
delicious  chocolate  of  the  country.  Unfortunately,  on  the 
Amazons  the  sun  is  a  very  uncertain  drying  agent ;  fre- 
quently there  are  heavy  showers,  and  the  sky  is  clouded  for 
days  together  ;  so  it  often  happens  that  the  imperfectly  pre- 
pared seed  gets  musty  and  half  rotten  before  it  reaches  the 
market.  Much  of  the  Para  cacao,  therefore,  does  not  rate 
very  high  in  the  market.  All  this  might  be  avoided  by  the 
introduction  of  a  simple  drying-machine,  such  as  is  used  at 
Rio  for  coffee. 

Stopping  at  the  fazcndas,  we  frequently  get  a  refreshing 
drink,  made  from  the  white  pulp  which  surrounds  the  cacao- 
seeds.  Enterprising  planters  prepare  from  this  pulp  a  deli- 
cious amber  jelly,  which,  if  it  were  placed  in  the  market, 
would  be  much  more  popular  than  guava-jelly.  Even  the 
shells  are  valuable  ;  they  are  dried  and  burned,  and  from  the 

112  BRAZIL. 

ash  is  prepared  a  very  strong  brown  soap — a  necessity  to 
every  Amazonian  washerwoman, 

I  confess  that  I  am  prejudiced  in  favor  of  cacao  ;  I  cannot 
understand  why  the  industry  has  been  so  neglected.  It  is 
said  that  the  orchards  of  Colombia  and  Venezuela  are  being 
abandoned,  because  they  are  unprofitable.  Very  likely  the 
land  there  has  become  too  valuable  ;  the  great  objection  to 
cacao-planting  is,  that  it  takes  up  so  much  ground  ;  but  in 
the  thinly-settled  Amazons  valley  this  is  no  obstacle.  Land 
has  hardly  more  than  a  nominal  price  :  fine  young  orchards 
can  be  purchased  at  the  rate  of  fifteen  or  twenty  cents  per 
tree,  the  ground  going  for  nothing.  And  the  great  virtue  of 
this  industry  is,  that  it  requires  only  a  few  hands,  and  those 
during  a  season  of  the  year  when  the  ordinary  forest  occupa- 
tions do  not  draw  them  away.  In  a  country  where  labor  is  so 
scarce,  such  an  advantage  is  almost  incalculable.  By  com- 
bining this  with  some  other  branch  of  agriculture,  as  sugar  or 
cotton  planting,  the  farmers  could  avoid  loss  of  time  during 
the  other  months.  The  small  lowland  proprietors  often  have 
herds  of  cattle  on  the  meadows  near  their  orchards. 

Cacao-planting  is  considered  one  of  the  most  profitable 
branches  of  agriculture  on  the  Amazons ;  it  is  calculated  that 
each  laborer  can  gather  and  prepare  four  hundred  dollars' 
worth  of  the  seed,  and  that  during  two  months  of  the  year. 
But  latterly  the  plantations  have  been  neglected;  many  trees 
have  been  killed  by  long  floods,  and  during  some  years  the 
crops  have  failed  almost  entirely ;  the  rubber-trade  has 
ruined  this,  as  it  has  almost  every  productive  industry. 

At  present  about  seven  million  pounds  of  cacao  are  ex- 
ported every  year  ;  nearly  all  of  this  goes  to  France  ;  a  little 
to  England  ;  last  year  none  at  all  was  sent  to  the  United 
States.     The  market  value    in  Para  has  steadily  risen,  from 



seven  and  one-half  cents  per  pound  in   1874  to  twelve  and 
one-half  cents  by  present  quotations."^ 

For  my  part,  I  cannot  see  why  chocolate  is  not  manu- 
factured in  connection  with  large  orchards.  At  present, 
cacao  goes  to  France  or  England,  and  is  there  made  into 
chocolate  or  "coco."  Thence  some  of  it  is  sent  to  the 
United  States,  reaching  the  American  consumer  after  paying 
three  or  four  duties,  and  the  profits  of  a  dozen  merchants,  be- 
sides those  of  the  manufacturers.    The  product  prepared  from 

Drying  Cacao. 

fresh  seed,  and  packed  in  tin,  would  be  much  better  in  every 
respect  than  that  which  we  get  at  home,  and  probably  the 
export  duty  at  Para  would  be  no  more  than  for  the  seed. 

As  it  is,  we  hardly  know  the  taste  of  the  drink,  and  we  do 
not  appreciate  it  at  all.  One  who  is  accustomed  to  a  gener- 
ous bowl  of  tJiick  chocolate  every  day  can  excuse  the  enthu- 
siasm that  called  it  Theobroma,  *'  Nectar  of  the  gods.''     This 

*  January,  1879. 

114  BRAZIL. 

is  not  a  stimulant,  like  coffee  and  tea  ;  it  is  a  mild,  nourish- 
ing food,  in  a  very  condensed  form.  I  have  proved  by  my 
own  experience  that  it  may  be  used  to  advantage  as  a  sub- 
stitute for  meat  ;  a  friend,  who  has  often  made  long  explora- 
tions in  the  forest,  told  me  that  he  always  carried  chocolate, 
as  the  most  compact  and  useful  food  that  he  could  find. 

The  grazing  industry  is  gradually  assuming  very  large 
proportions  on  the  Middle  Amazons,  as  it  has  heretofore  on 
Marajo.  It  is  true  that  the  herds  do  not  compare,  and  prob- 
ably never  will,  with  those  of  La  Plata;  but  there  is  an  im- 
mense field  for  profit  on  these  lowlands,  if  the  present  barbar- 
ous system  can  be  superseded  by  a  more  civilized  one.  The 
cattle  are  a  hardy,  half-wild  stock,  well  suited  to  the  rough 
life  they  lead,  but  of  small  productive  value.  The  only  profit 
derived  is  from  the  meat  and  the  hides  ;  owing  to  the  over- 
supply,  the  meat  is  very  cheap,  retailing  at  from  three  to  five 
cents  per  pound  ;  the  hides  are  carelessly  cured  and  often 
half  spoiled.  As  for  the  milk,  no  value  at  all  is  set  on  that ; 
the  herdsmen  drink  it  sometimes,  but  the  town-people  hardly 
use  it  even  in  their  coffee,  and  butter  and  cheese  manufactures 
are  unknown.  It  is  true  that  the  cows  give  very  little,  a  quart 
or  two  at  the  utmost,  and  that  only  when  they  are  running 
on  the  lowland  pastures  ;  but  with  improved  breeds  and  care- 
ful management  I  see  no  reason  why  the  yield  should  not  be 
equal  to  that  of  our  northern  herds.  Excellent  butter  is  made 
now  by  American  residents  ;  this  and  cheese  ought  to  be 
manufactured  in  large  quantities.  The  great  difficulty  in  the 
way  of  successful  grazing  is,  that  the  lowland  meadows  must 
be  abandoned  during  the  floods  ;  then  the  cattle  are  driven 
away  to  the  scanty  pastures  of  the  highland  campos — sandy 
tracts,  with  scattered  trees  and  short  wiry  grass.     Even  these 


are  of  limited  extent ;  numbers  of  small  herds  are  confined  to 
little  islands  of  the  raised  border,  and  reduced  to  rations  of 
the  long  canna-rana  grass,  which  the  herdsmen  cut  for  them 
over  the  submerged  land  ;  but  they  hardly  ever  get  enough 
of  this  for  their  wants,  and  the  poor  beasts  may  be  seen 
wading  up  to  their  necks  to  catch  the  floating  leaves.  Hun- 
dreds die  of  disease  and  famine  ;  when  the  rise  of  water  is 
rapid,  whole  herds  are  drowned. 

Some  system  of  winter-feeding  ought  to  be  devised.  For 
instance,  near  large  sugar-plantations,  where  cane  is  ground 
in  the  wet  season,  the  tops  might  be  utilized  in  this  way  ;  or 
the  richly  nutritive  canna-i'mia  grass  of  the  floating  islands 
could  be  collected  in  steamboats,  and  sold  to  the  herdsmen  at 
a  small  price.  As  for  hay,  it  probably  could  not  be  preserved 
in  this  humid  climate;  but  various  succulent  roots  grow  almost 
spontaneously,  and  every  northern  herdsman  knows  their 
value  for  milch-cows.  It  might  even  be  profitable  to  plant 
pastures  on  the  high  land. 

I  wish  some  enterprising  American  grazer  would  turn  his 
attention  to  these  plains.  He  would  have  to  introduce  new 
breeds  with  caution  ;  probably  it  would  be  w^ell  to  cross  them 
with  the  hardy  native  stock.  There  would  be  other  difficul- 
ties, no  doubt,  but  I  am  sure  that  they  would  disappear  before 
American  pluck  and  ingenuity.  Surely,  with  canned  butter 
selling  at  seventy-five  cents  a  pound,  and  land  worth  hardly 
so  much  per  acre,  there  are  vast  possibilities  for  profit  here. 
For  making  butter  on  a  large  scale  it  might  be  necessary  to 
import  or  prepare  ice.  Even  as  now  carried  on,  the  industry 
is  very  lucrative.*  Some  of  the  large  proprietors  own  from 
ten  to  thirty  thousand  head  of  cattle,  valued  at  eight  or  ten 

*  Leather- tanning  and  shoe-making  would  be  very  profitable.     Excellent   tan- 
bark  is  obtained  from  various  highland  trees. 

I  l6  BRAZIL. 

dollars  per  head.  They  employ  hundreds  of  herdsmen — • 
hardy  fellows,  in  the  saddle  from  morning  till  night,  hunting 
up  strays,  keeping  the  herds  in  rich  pasture,  and  branding 
them  every  year.  We  often  see  these  vaqiieiros  galloping 
over  the  campos  on  their  wiry  little  gray  horses,  each  with  a 
bright  red  blanket  rolled  behind  the  rough  wooden  saddle, 
and  a  lasso-cord  hanging  in  front ;  their  bare  great-toes  thrust 
into  tiny  stirrups,  and  their  hair  streaming  in  the  wind. 



IT  is  bright  morning  when  we  pass  from  the  yellow  Ama- 
zons to  the  black  waters  of  the  Tapajos.  There  are 
white  sand-beaches  here,  and  clumps  of  graceful  javary  palms ; 
to  th  e  south 
stretches  a  row 
of  picturesque 
hills,  flat- topped, 
most  of  them, 
and  covered  with 
forest.  A  pretty 
picture  it  is,  with 
the  framework  of 
cloudless  sky  and 
dark,  clear  water. 
The  air  is  fresh 
and  cool  as  on  a 
summer  morning 
at  home  ;  we  long 
to  ramble  in  the  m 
shore  woods  and 
away  to  the  hills.  What  may  there  not  be  there?  The  mighty 
current  of  the  main  river  has  driven  the  tributary  close  to 
the    southern    shore,   where    it    forms   only  a   narrow  band. 

The   Beach   below   Santarera 


Santarem  lies  just  above,  two  or  three  miles  within  the 
mouth  of  the  Tapajos.  There  are  rows  of  neatly  white- 
washed houses,  one  and  two  stories  high ;  the  handsome 
municipal  building  stands  by  itself,  below  the  main  town,  and 
at  the  other  end  the  palm-thatched  huts  of  the  Aldeia  are 
clustered  about  the  shore.  Nearly  every  Amazonian  town  is 
divided  into  cidade  and  aldeia,  city  and  village  ;  the  former 
is  the  modern  town ;  the  latter  the  original  Indian  settlement 
from  which  it  sprang.  There  is  a  little  rocky  hill  by  the 
shore,  with  the  remains  of  a  stone  fort  on  it,  but  the  walls 
are  all  overgrown  with  bushes,  and  not  a  gun  is  visible. 
Rows  of  canoes  are  drawn  up  along  the  shore,  and  a  score 
of  larger  vessels  are  lying  in  the  river  ;  the  sand-beach  is 
lively  with  washerwomen  of  all  shades,  with  occasionally  a 
well-dressed  promenader,  picking  his  way  among  the  drying 
clothes.  The  church  is  large  and  showy,  with  two  square 
towers,  looking  over  a  great  grassy  square,  where  is  set 
the  universal  black  cross.  You  might  go  far  before  finding 
another  Brazilian  city  so  clean  and  neat-looking  as  this  one. 
With  the  mango-trees  of  Para,  it  would  be  as  pretty  as  it 
is  clean  ;  but  here  the  streets  are  shadeless,  and  only  the 
half-wild  gardens  give  a  touch  of  color  to  the  glowing 

The  steamboat  anchors  in  front  of  the  town,  and  presently 
a  number  of  barges  are  pushed  out  for  freight.  A  passing 
canoeman  comes  to  our  call,  and  bickers  for  some  minutes 
before  he  will  set  us  ashore.  Arrived  there,  we  seek  the 
house  of  Sr.  Caetano  Correa,  to  whom  we  bear  letters  of 
introduction.  Sr.  Caetano  is  a  well-to-do  merchant  of  the 
place  ;  we  find  him  sitting  in  front  of  his  store,  cool  in  linen 
coat  and  slippers.  He  bids  us  welcome  very  cordially,  and 
invites  us  to  remain  with  him  until  we  find  other  quarters. 


These  preliminaries  arranged,  coffee  is  brought  out,  and  we 
converse  pleasantly  until  breakfast  time. 

Our  host  is  a  gentleman  of  the  old  BraziHan  school ;  when 
he  places  his  house  **at  our  orders"  we  maybe  sure  that 
we  are  welcome.  The  breakfast  is  as  unceremonious  as  pos- 
sible, but  curiously  different  from  a  meal  at  home.  There 
are  no  ladies  at  the  table  ;  only  a  few  families  in  Santarem 
have  adopted  the  new  customs  in  this  respect,  and  Sr.  Cae- 
tano's  is  not  one  of  them.  Two  or  three  barefooted  negro 
servants  stand  behind  our  chairs,  with  very  little  to  do.  Sr. 
Caetano  serves  the  meat,  and  then  invites  us  to  "  help  our- 
selves :  JVao  ha  ceremonial  Beyond  that,  there  is  no  passing 
of  plates,  and  no  waiting  between  the  courses.  After  a  des- 
sert of  fruits  and  wines,  the  inevitable  toothpicks  are  passed 
around  ;  we  light  cigarettes,  and  sit  smoking  for  ten  minutes 
before  leaving  the  table.  This  is  very  much  what  we  shall 
find  at  all  the  better  houses  ;  no  especial  preparation  is  made 
for  transient  guests,  and  we  are  welcome  at  the  table  of  any 
acquaintance,  at  a  half  minute's  notice. 

Sr.  Caetano's  store  is  one  of  some  twenty  in  the  town  ; 
most  of  them  are  small  affairs  ;  three  or  four  only  are  large 
and  well  stocked,  like  this  one.  Several  Para  merchants  have 
houses  here.  Much  of  the  prosperity  of  Santarem  depends 
on  the  Tapajos  and  the  country  along  its  banks.  Some  of 
the  houses  have  branch  establishments  at  Itaituba,  one  hun- 
dred and  fifty  miles  up,  and  trading  canoes  are  annually  sent 
to  the  region  beyond  the  falls.  Much  rubber  comes  back  in 
these  canoes  ;  drugs  and  cacao  also,  and  now  and  then  a 
feather  dress  from  the  Mundurucii  Indians,  or  hideous  em- 
balmed heads.  Once,  during  our  stay,  Sr.  Caetano  receives  a 
little  box  of  gold  dust  from  Cuiaba,  far  in  the  interior  of  Bra- 
zil :  it  has  come  all  this  distance  by  canoe,  down  the  Tapajos, 


There  is  a  curious  mixture  of  quiet  and  bustle  about  the 
town.  The  stores  are  all  neatly  whitewashed  or  yellow- 
washed  ;  they  have  high  green  doors,  occupying  all  the 
front,  and  here  the  proprietor  sits,  unless  he  is  waiting  on  a 
customer.  The  wares  are  miscellaneous  :  light-flowered  cali- 
coes, thread,  pocket-knives,  large  wood-knives,  household 
utensils.,  and  so  on.  In  every  case  a  part  of  the  counter  is 
reserved  tor  rum  and  cheap  wines,  and  tobacco  ;  here  the 
Indian  and  mulatto  customers  are  served  :  "  tobacco  for  two 
vintens,''  or  *'  rum  for  one  tostdo,''"^  the  universal  standards. 
Much  of  the  business  is  of  this  small  grade  ;  only  when  cus- 
tomers come  in  from  the  country,  there  is  a  general  over- 
hauling of  goods  and  selection  of  dresses,  tools,  or  groceries, 
enough  to  last  until  the  next  voyage. 

The  shopkeepers  are  sociable  and  gossipy :  all  the  town 
news  is  passed  over  the  counter  long  before  it  reaches  the 
little  weekly  paper.  The  stores,  of  course,  are  common 
lounging-places  ;  there  is  always  a  chair  at  your  disposal, 
and,  in  the  morning,  a  cup  of  coffee  with  the  proprietor;  if 
you  do  not  care  to  stop,  he  nods  and  waves  his  hand.  The 
better  class  of  men,  like  Sr.  Caetano,  are  honest  and  reli- 
able ;  many  of  the  small  shopkeepers,  no  doubt,  will  cheat 
when  they  can,  often  taking  advantage  of  ignorant  custom- 
ers,  as  our  country  storekeepers  do  at  home. 

During  the  hot  hours,  from  two  till  four,  many  of  the 
stores  are  closed  ;  the  master  takes  his  siesta,  and  though 
your  business  be  never  so  urgent,  no  one  will  venture  to 
awaken  him.  Beware  how  you  break  in  upon  this  afternoon 
nap  of  a  Brazilian  ;  if  you  do  so,  you  will  be  set  down  as  ill- 
bred,  and  decidedly  a  bore.      Rather,  avoid  attempting  busi- 

*  A  vintem  (plural,  vintens^)  is  twenty  reis,  about  one  cent.     The  tostao  is  five  vin- 


ness  and  calls  at  this  hour  ;  they  are  as  much  out  of  place  as 
a  New  York  visit  would  be  at  seven  o'clock  in  the  morning. 

Dinner  is  at  four,  always  precisely  like  breakfast  in  the 
courses,  and  followed  by  coffee  or  tea.  We  stroll  out  at  sun- 
down, and  make  acquaintances  readily ;  people  are  sitting 
before  their  doors,  as  we  have  seen  them  in  Para,  only  here 
there  are  no  ladies  in  the  groups.  They  smoke,  play  at 
draughts,  oftenest  of  all  talk  politics  ;  and  you  find,  after  a 
little,  that  members  of  the  same  party  fall  together.  Sr,  A., 
liberal,  does  not  fraternize  with  Sr.  B.,  conservative,  though 
the  two  may  be  outwardly  polite  in  their  greetings.  We, 
who  have  no  politics,  are  welcome  anywhere  ;  there  are  many 
intelligent  and  educated  men  here,  and  traders  who  have 
spent  half  their  lives  on  unheard-of  rivers,  among  semi-savage 
Indian  tribes  ;  from  them  we  can  pick  up  great  stores  of  in- 
formation that  will  be  valuable  to  us  in  the  future.  I  like 
this  Brazilian  custom  of  out-door  evening  chats  ;  there  is  a 
freedom  about  it  that  encourages  interchange  of  ideas  and 
opinions.  We  sit  in  the  cool  twilight,  while  the  evening 
breeze  just  stirs  the  water  in  front ;  there  are  fishing  lights 
on  the  other  side,  and  one  down  the  beach,  where  some  In- 
dian family  has  camped  for  the  night ;  the  very  spirit  of 
peace  rests  over  the  landscape  ;  you  think  you  could  remain 
all  your  life  among  these  good  people,  away  from  the  striving 
world,  remembering  only  the  quiet  and  beauty  about  you. 

The  hour  for  ceremonious,  black-coat  calls  is  in  the  morn- 
ing, shortly  after  breakfast.  The  Senhor  welcomes  us  politely 
at  the  door  ;  conducts  us  to  one  end  of  the  room,  where  a 
settee  is  placed  against  the  wall,  and  chairs  are  set  in  front  of 
it,  so  as  to  form  an  exact  square.  Here  we  talk  common- 
places and  pass  compliments,  and,  altogether,  are  quite  as  un- 
natural as  we  would  be  under  like  circumstances  at  home  ; 

122  BRAZIL. 

on  leaving,  we  are  politely  bowed  to  the  door,  and  we  go 
away  wondering  if  this  is  the  pleasant,  sociable  gentleman 
with  whom  we  were  chatting  the  evening  before.  Some- 
thing of  this  same  ceremony  is  found  in  other  social  observ- 
ances. For  instance,  if  we  leave  the  town,  even  for  a  month, 
we  are  expected  to  make  calls  on  all  our  acquaintances,  para 
despedir:  "  for  good-by."  If  His  Excellency  the  Baron,  or 
any  other  distinguished  man,  goes  away,  he  gives  a  little 
dinner  or  lunch  to  his  friends,  and  they  all  accompany  him 
to  the  steamboat,  embracing  him,  French  fashion,  at  parting. 
But,  beyond  these  small  matters,  society  is  remarkably  free 
from  stiffness. 

One  day  we  receive  printed  invitations  to  an  evening 
party — a  dancing  party,  of  course,  and  the  c'/iU  will  be  there. 
We  find  the  large  house  full  of  guests,  ladies  and  gentlemen 
handsomely  dressed  in  the  French  fashion,  the  description 
of  which  is  quite  beyond  our  zoological  pen.  The  musicians 
— very  good  ones  in  their  way — are  seated  around  a  table  in 
the  hall ;  they  play  simple  tunes  ;  once  we  are  astonished  to 
hear  a  quadrille  led  off  with  *'  Pop  Goes  the  Weasel,"  hardly 
a  note  changed.  For  the  rest,  a  party  here  is  much  what  it  is 
at  the  North.  Brazilians  are  graceful  dancers,  but  the  ladies, 
between  the  sets,  are  anything  but  entertaining  ;  custom,  or 
bashfulness,  keeps  them  together  at  one  end  of  the  room, 
while  the  gentlemen  may  be  strolling  down  the  street  to  the 
little  beer-shop,  which  is  always  open  on  such  occasions. 
These  parties  are  almost  the  only  occasions  on  which  ladies 
are  permitted  to  mingle  in  social  life.  There  are,  indeed, 
exceptions  with  one  or  two  of  the  better  families,  in  which 
ladies  come  to  the  table  with  their  husbands  and  brothers, 
and  converse  freely  with  guests  ;  and  you  will  often  see  some 
young  fellow  stop  at  a  window  for  a  moment,  to  talk  with 



some  fair  acquaintance.  But,  as  a  rule,  the  old  Portuguese 
custom  of  seclusion  is  still  dominant  in  all  the  Amazonian 
country  towns  ;  the  people  think,  and  say,  that  women  are 
unfit  for  freedom  ;  wiser  men  mourn  the  want  of  education 
for  their  daughters  ;  they  urge,  with  much  seeming  truth, 
that   the    sex   must  be  ^^ .  ^, 

fitted  for  liberty  be- 
fore it  is  freed.  Bevond 
this  restraint,  I  believe 
that  women  are  univer- 
sally well  treated  ;  but 
they  must  lead  a  dull 
life,  shut  out  from  the 
world  in  their  dark 
rooms  ;  they  look  yel- 
low and  unhealthy.  If 
a  young  man  is  paying 
his  addresses  to  a  lady, 
he  visits  her  at  stated 
intervals,  always  in  the 
presence  of  her  mother 
or  some  female  relative. 
In  course  of  time  he 
carries  her  through  a  dressy  wedding  at  the  church  ;  there 
is  a  great  party  in  honor  of  the  event,  and  thereafter  she  is 
more  shut  up  from  the  world  than  ever. 

Christenings  are  celebrated  with  almost  as  much  rejoicing 
as  weddings,  but  there  is  less  ceremony  about  them.  Our 
friend,  Dr.  A.,  has  a  little  daughter  who  is  to  be  christened 
during  our  stay,  and  we  are  honored  with  an  invitation  to 
the  breakfast,  and  the  subsequent  ceremony  at  the  church. 
Some  fifteen  or  twenty  family  friends  make  up  the  party ;  we 


At  the  Window. 

124  BRAZIL. 

chat  for  an  hour  pleasantly,  ladies  and  gentlemen  together, 
for  this  is  one  of  the  upper  class,  modernized  families.  At 
the  breakfast  there  is  a  great  display  of  silver  service  and 
choice  cookery,  the  like  of  which  you  will  not  often  see  at  a 
northern  dinner-party  ;  the  health  of  the  little  Catholic-elect 
is  proposed  in  a  neat  speech,  and  the  father  responds  ;  then 
His  Reverence  the  Padre  is  toasted,  and  his  Excellency  the 
Baron,  and  healths  are  drunk  between  friends  across  the 
table;  there  is  no  excess,  but  much  harmless  merriment. 
After  breakfast  the  children  are  brought  in  and  duly  admired  ; 
we  chat  for  an  hour  longer,  or  remain  if  we  please  until  the 
christening  at  four  o'clock  ;  the  baby  is  received  into  the 
Church  with  the  complicated  Catholic  ceremonies;  and  in  the 
evening  the  house  is  thrown  open  to  all  friends.  Throughout, 
the  day's  pleasure  is  marked  by  well-bred  good-humor  and 
an  utter  lack  of  restraint  which  is  very  charming. 

Holy  Week  brings  its  round  of  ceremonies,  culminating 
on  Good  Friday,  when  there  is  a  grand  procession  of  the 
Body  of  Christ.  It  passes  through  the  town  in  the  early 
evening  ;  the  approach  is  heralded  by  the  noise  of  hideous 
wooden  rattles  in  the  street ;  torches  flare  over  red  coats 
and  gilded  canopies.  There  are  no  rockets  on  this  occa- 
sion, for  it  is  a  time  of  sadness  and  lamentation.  The  cross- 
bearer  walks  before,  with  a  heavy  black  cross ;  then  a  troop 
of  red-coated  boys  pass,  two  by  two;  then  child-angels,  with 
spangled  gauze  dresses  and  pasteboard  wings,  some  bearing 
little  ladders,  or  hammers,  or  pincers,  the  instruments  of  tor- 
ture used  at  the  Crucifixion.  A  lady  follows,  dressed  all  in 
white  ;  she  sings,  at  the  street-corners,  hymns  of  mourning 
for  the  dying  Lord.  Now  people  kneel  in  the  street  as  the 
dead  Christ  passes  by — a  coffin,  with  a  wax  or  plaster  image, 
not  larger  than  an  infant  ;  it  is  borne  under  a  canopy,  as  is 


the  life-size  figure  of  the  Virgin  which  follows.  These  have 
met  in  the  church,  with  groans  and  weeping  ;  a  sermon  has 
been  given  to  the  kneeling  congregation  and  emphasized  by 
the  sudden  unrolling  of  cloths,  whereon  are  portrayed  the 
sufferings  of  Christ.  The  susceptible  people  are  strangely 
moved  ;  negroes  and  mulattoes  weep  and  tremble  ;  men  of 
the  better  class  stand  about  by  the  pillars  and  listen  rev- 
erently. Even  more  impressive  is  the  Easter  Sunday  cere- 
monial, when  light  bursts  suddenly  on  the  darkened  church, 
and  the  organ  peals  forth  grandly,  and  the  priest  and  people 
mingle  voices  in  songs  of  rejoicing  for  the  Risen  Lord.  Now 
there  are  rockets  in  abundance,  whizzing  and  crackling 
around  the  building  ;  bells  are  sounded,  and  all  the  city 
knows  that  darkness  is  ended  and  light  has  come. 

At  one  side  of  the  church  we  notice  a  gilded  image  of 
Christ  on  the  cross,  with  a  tablet,  on  which  is  an  inscription 
in  gilt  letters.     Translated,  it  reads  thus: 

"  The  Knight,  Charles  Fred.  Phil.  Von  Martins,  Member  of  the 
Royal  Academy  of  Sciences  of  Munich,  making,  in  1 817-1820,  by  order 
of  Maximilian  Joseph,  King  of  Bavaria,  a  Scientific  Voyage  to  Brazil, 
was  on  the  ist  of  Sept.,  1819,  saved  by  Divine  Pity  from  the  Fury  of 
the  Amazonian  Waves,  near  the  Village  of  Santarem.  As  a  Monument 
of  his  Pious  Gratitude  to  the  All  Powerful,  he  ordered  this  Crucifix  to  be 
erected  in  this  Church  of  Nossa  Senhora  da  Conceigao,  in  the  Year 

It  is  said  that  Martius,  who  was  overtaken  by  a  danger- 
ous storm,  made  a  vow  to  erect  the  cross  if  he  were  saved. 
The  Christ  is  a  life-size  figure  of  iron,  gilded,  and  was  sent 
from  Europe  with  the  tablet ;  the  cross  is  of  native  itauba 

It  is  a  strange  congregation  that  this  priest  has  to  teach  : 
susceptible  negroes,  carried  away  by  the  gaudy  ceremonies, 

126  BRAZIL. 

and  whites  who  care  very  little  about  them,  and  Indians 
who  look  on  with  stolid  indifference  ;  devout  old  women, 
counting  their  beads  on  the  stone  floor,  and  pretty  ones, 
taken  up  with  their  finery;  hot-headed  youngsters,  who  upset 
half  the  commandments  every  week,  and  merchants  absorbed 
in  their  gains,  and  old  men  tottering  on  with  childish  vanity. 
Well,  the  priest  is  a  good  one,  and  so  far  the  people  have  an 
example  that  is  worth  much  more  than  the  precepts  and  cere- 
monial. I  believe  that  this  vicar  has  been  steadily  working 
improvement  in  the  town,  ever  since  he  came.  We  find  him 
here  and  there,  in  rich  houses  and  poor  ones,  encouraging 
right  and  gently  chiding  wrong  —  above  all,  leading  a  pure 
life,  beyond  reproach.  He  is  learned:  has  studied  in  Lisbon 
and  Paris,  and  so  well  that  very  little  bigotry  is  left.  He 
will  meet  us  Protestants  on  equal  terms,  without  lowering  a 
whit  his  honest  Catholicism.  It  is  a  pity  there  are  so  few 
like  him  ;  but  in  nearly  all  the  villages  around,  the  churches 
are  in  charge  of  weak  men,  or  utterly  corrupt  ones  ;  the 
predecessor  of  this  Santarem  priest  was  deposed  for  some 
flagrant  sin. 

The  Brazilian  Sunday  is  a  holiday,  much  as  it  is  in 
France  ;  here  at  Santarem,  as  elsewhere,  the  stores  are  all 
open  during  the  morning,  and  Sunday  evening  is  the  regular 
time  for  shows  and  displays  of  all  sorts.  Only  in  the  after- 
noon the  streets  are  very  quiet,  and  the  beach  is  deserted. 
We  stroll  down,  past  the  old  stone  fort,  to  the  municipal 
building  ;  part  of  this  is  occupied  for  a  jail,  where  some  fif- 
teen or  twenty  prisoners  are  gathered ;  all  the  men  in  one 
room,  without  employment,  except  what  they  choose  to  take 
up  themselves,  and  with  very  little  restraint,  inside  of  the 
barred  windows.  They  come  to  the  grating  to  offer  baskets 
and  trinkets  for  sale  ;  one  has  rings,  made  from  tucuma  nuts, 


and  another  is  weaving  sieves  of  strips  from  the  leaf-stems  of 
carana  palms.  Of  the  prisoners  here,  two  or  three  are  mur- 
derers, condemned  to  imprisonment  for  twenty  years  or  for 
life  ;  capital  punishment  is  admitted  by  law,  but  practically 
it  is  almost  a  dead  letter  now.  The  criminal  and  civil  courts 
are  held  in  another  part  of  the  building  ;  in  smaller  matters 
the  tradesmen  very  often  conduct  their  own  cases,  for  nearly 
all  of  the  better  class  are  good  rhetoricians  and  ready  de- 
baters. There  are,  however,  a  number  of  smart  lawyers  in 
the  town,  and  they  generally  have  plenty  to  do. 

A  place  of  this  size  and  importance  has  a  whole  corps  of 
civil  officers.  The  Delegado  de  Policia  answers  very  nearly 
to  our  justice  of  the  peace  ;  he  has  charge,  also,  of  the  police 
force,  and  reports  to  the  Chief  of  Police  at  Para  ;  two  or 
three  sub-delegados  act  as  sheriffs  or  constables.  The  Jjiiz 
MiLiiicipal  presides  over  what  would  be  called  a  Common 
Pleas  court  in  the  United  States  ;  the  highest  judicial  officer 
in  town  is  the  Juiz  de  Direito.  There  is  an  orphans'  court, 
or  probate  court,  with  a  J2dz  dos  Orphdos,  who  has  the  con- 
trol of  all  minors  whose  parents  or  guardians  have  died.  The 
laws  are  good,  but  they  are  often  spoiled  in  the  administra- 
tion, either  through  legal  quibble  or,  sometimes,  actual  fraud. 
Frequently  the  petty  spite  and  over-officiousness  of  the  judges 
are  a  source  of  great  annoyance,  especially  to  foreigners.  If 
an  American  dies  here,  and  leaves  no  family,  the  Delegado  de 
Policia  takes  charge  of  all  his  effects,  although  a  known  friend 
be  travelling  with  him  ;  application  for  them  must  be  made 
through  the  American  consul  —  a  very  tedious  process, 
though  it  is  entirely  just  in  theory.  Another  case  which 
came  under  my  notice  was  quite  as  unpleasant.  An  Ameri- 
can died  at  Santarem,  leaving  a  little  girl,  who  was  cared  for 
by  other  Americans  for  more  than  a  year.     The  father,  on 



his  dying  bed,  had  begged  them  to  send  the  child  to  her 
friends  in  the  United  States  ;  but  he  left  no  property,  and  it 
was  a  long  time  before  his  wish  could  be  complied  with.  As 
it  happened,  an  American  government  steamer  was  engaged 
in  surveying  the  river,  and  the  captain,  out  of  pure  charity, 
offered  to  take  the  child  home,  free  of  cost.  Everybody  in 
town  knew  of  the  matter,  and  many  praised  the  captain  for 

J  P'-J  )^  ^^^  kindness  ;  no  im- 

pediment whatever 
was  placed  in  his  way 
until  he  reached  Para, 
when  the  American 
consul  was  summon- 
ed to  give  up  **  a  mi- 
nor who  had  been  un- 
lawfully taken  from 
the  jurisdiction  of  the 
Orphans'  Court  at 
Santarem."  The  cap- 
tain, being  a  gentle- 
man, utterly  refused  to  abandon  his 
charge,  and  he  was  finally  allowed  to 
take  the  child,  on  his  promise  to  deliver 
her  safely  to  her  relative.  No  doubt 
this  was  very  good  law  ;  if  the  jftcis  dos 
Orphdos  was  not  aware  of  the  girl's  departure,  he  had  a 
legal  right  to  make  requisition  for  her  through  the  authori- 
ties at  Para,  and  in  some  cases,  probably,  this  right  would 
prevent  injury  to  the  minor.  The  Americans,  through  igno- 
rance, had  neglected  to  take  the  proper  steps  in  the  outset; 
but  the  judge  knew  all  the  parties  personally,  and  he  should 
have  had  the  discretion  to  let  matters  alone.     It  is  bad  enough 



to  see  a  grown  man  drawn  into  this  Brazilian  legal  machine  ; 
but  it  is  outrage  with  a  little  tender  child.* 

If  Santarem  gives  much  employment  to  the  legal  gentle- 
men, the  medical  profession  is  hardly  represented.  There  are 
two  little  apothecary  shops,  and  one  or  two  physicians,  for 
the  entire  town  of  three  thousand  inhabitants.  Intermittent 
fevers  are  never  felt  here  ;  severe  colds  are  sometimes  preva- 
lent during  the  wet  season,  and,  when  the  river  is  lowest,  the 
water  is  decidedly  unwholesome  ;  as  there  are  no  wells,  this 
is  the  only  supply  for  drinking.  Otherwise  the  place  is  a 
marvel  of  healthfulness  ;  for  a  wonder,  there  are  no  mosqui- 
toes, and  we  can  sleep  in  peace  with  our  windows  open. 

The  beach  is  a  study ;  from  morning  till  night  it  is 
thronged  with  picturesque  groups,  of  all  colors  and  condi- 
tions. First,  at  sunrise,  come  the  women,  trooping  down 
with  water-jars  on  their  heads  to  fill  for  the  day's  supply  ; 
they  chatter  and  gesticulate,  and  march  back  at  length,  walk- 
ing stiffly  under  their  heavy  burdens.  Then  the  bathers  ap- 
pear, one  by  one,  and  pass  below  the  town  to  their  own  part 
of  the  beach  :  the  clerks  with  towels  on  their  arms  ;  the  great 
men  followed  by  little  negro  boys,  with  a  chair,  and  a  board 
for  the  feet,  and  sponge,  soap,  slippers,  what  not.  We,  with 
the  rest,  are  tumbling  about  in  the  water  by  this  time  ;  in  all 
Amazonia  you  will  hardly  find  such  another  river  for  bathing. 
As  we  go  back  to  our  coffee  we  see  the  washerwomen  bring- 
ing down  their  baskets  ;  they  tuck  up  their  skirts  neatly  as 
they  wade  in  ;  clothes  are  beaten  by  slapping  the  w^ater  with 
them,  and  the  women  pile  them  on  their  heads  until  they 
come  ashore  again.  By  noon  the  sands  are  covered  with  dry- 
ing linen,  and  the  lines  are  flying  all  colors.      Many  of  these 

*  This  case  of  little  Allie  Stroop  attracted  much  attention  at  Para,     It  is  well 

that  the  child  escaped  so  easily. 



washerwomen     are 
slaves;  the  better  fam- 
ilies generally  own  a       " 
few  negroes,  as  the  only  servants  they 
can  get,  except  the  very  unreliable  In- 
dian ones.      Sometimes  Indian  children 
are  "  adopted,"  and  brought  up  as  ser- 
vants, but   these  wards  are  almost  sure 
to  leave  their  guardians  as  soon  as  they 
are  of  age  ;    often   they  run  away  long 
before  that  time.   The 
slaves,  it  must  be  said, 
are  very  well  treated, 
and  they  are  often  at- 
tached   to   their   mas- 

Strange  river-craft 
are  coming  and  going  before  the  city ; 
cattle-barges,  and  trading  canoes,  and  fishing 
vessels,  with  not  a  few  pretty  pleasure-boats. 
Every  day  or  two  a  steamboat  anchors  in 
the  port,  and  rarely  a  schooner,  or  even  an  ^ 
ocean    steamer,    comes    up    from    the    sea. 

Some     time,     no    doubt,    Santarem    will    have         Beach  scenes  at  Santarer 


a  large  commerce  direct  with  Europe  and  the  United  States. 
In  the  dry  season,  the  trade-winds  blow  steadily  up  the  river 
during  a  great  part  of  every  day  ;  a  schooner  can  ascend 
against  the  current,  even  to  Manaos. 

Most  of  the  smaller  canoes  belong  to  fishermen  from  the 
Aldeia^  the  old  Indian  village,  which  is  left  now  as  a  suburb 
of  the  modern  city.  The  streets  in  the  main  town  are 
straight  and  sandy  and  glaring,  but  these  thatched  huts  of 
the  Aldeia  are  thrown  helter-skelter,  with  winding  paths 
among  the  bushes,  and  always  a  possible  house  beyond  the 
last  one  that  you  see.  We  find  a  few  wdiites,  but  more  In- 
dians and  mulattoes  ;  the  most  of  them  have  houses  and 
plantations  in  the  country,  but  they  spend  their  Sundays 
here,  and  holidays  and  Holy-week,  of  course.  I  always 
come  to  the  Aldeia  when  I  want  to  engage  canoemen,  or 
guides  ;  a  sociable  chat,  or  a  cigarette  from  my  pouch,  will 
often  secure  me  a  ready  workman,  such  as  I  could  never  find 
about  the  main  city. 

I  suppose  that  the  Aldeia  has  hardly  changed  since  the 
Jesuit  missionaries  gathered  the  Tapajos  Indians  to  this  spot. 
There  is  an  old  tradition  to  the  effect  that  these  Tapajoses,  or 
Tapayds*  were  descendants  of  a  tribe  wdiich  had  emigrated 
from  Peru  or  Venezuela  and  settled  on  this  river.  Be  that  as 
it  may,  it  is  certain  that  they  formed  one  of  the  most  power- 
ful tribes  in  the  whole  valley;  "sixty  thousand  bows,"  wrote 
Heriarte,  ''can  be  sent  forth  by  these  villages  alone,  and  be- 
cause the  number  of  Tapajos  Indians  is  so  great,  they  are 
feared  by  the  other  Indians  and  nations,  and  thus  they  have 

*  Tapayo,  singular  ;  Tapciyos^  plural.  In  this,  as  in  many  other  names  of  Indian 
tribes,  the  Portuguese  has  formed  a  double  plural,  Tapayoses,  or  Tapajoses^  or  again, 
Tapajozes.  Another  instance  is  seen  in  the  tribal  name  Tupinambd,  from  which  the 
Portuguese  formed,  first  Tupifiambds,  and  then  Tupinambazes. 

132  BRAZIL. 

made  themselves  sovereigns  of  this  district."  *  Pedro  Texeira 
came  in  1626  to  buy  slaves  of  this  powerful  tribe;  later,  Bento 
Maciel  and  his  crew  enslaved  the  Tapajoses  themselves,  and 
the  helpless  savages  fled  to  the  forest  before  their  civilized  per- 
secutors, so  that  whole  villages  were  depopulated.  The  In- 
dians must  have  been  ill  enough  prepared  to  receive  mission- 
aries; but  in  1661  came  Padre  Joao  Felippe  Bittendorf,  sent 
hither  by  the  Superior,  Antonio  Vieira,  ''  because  he  had  gifts 
and  talents  worthy  to  conquer  and  reduce  the  barbarians." 
The  king,  also,  ordered  that  "  a  village  should  be  established 
at  the  mouth  of  this  river,  and  in  it  a  college  of  the  Company 
of  Jesus,  which  should  be  as  a  seminary,  wherein  might  be 
prepared  the  workers  of  the  faith  which  was  to  be  spread  and 
planted  in  all  the  regions  of  the  Amazons."  t  Whether  the 
seminary  was  ever  achieved,  I  know  not.  Priest  Bittendorf 
induced  some  of  the  Tapajos  Indians  to  acknowledge  his  con- 
trol, and  these  he  gathered  on  the  banks  of  the  river,  with 
others  from  the  neighboring  Uruerucus  tribe;  this  mission  was 
protected  by  Jesuit  authority,  and  it  throve  apace.  Bitten- 
dorf and  his  first  successors  lived  in  poverty,  and  said  masses 
in  thatched  sheds  until  1682,  when  a  little  tile-covered  church 
was  erected.  About  this  time,  also,  the  fort  was  built. 
There  were  rumors  of  French  invasion  from  Guiana,  and  the 
king  ordered  that  the  Amazons  should  be  fortified.  One 
Francisco  da  Motta  Falcao  offered  to  build  this,  and  three 
other  forts,  at  his  own  cost,  on  condition  that  he  should  have 
command  of  one  of  them.  He  died  before  the  work  was 
completed,  but  his  son  carried  out  his  wishes  and  was  placed 
in  command  of  the  fortress,  **  with  the  annual  salary  of  eighty 
dollars."     The  office  remained  in  this  family  for  a  long  time. 

*  Descripgam  do  Maranham,  Pari,  etc.,  p.  35. 
f  Moraes:  Historia  da  Companhia  de  Jesus. 


The  mission  village  grew:  in  1738  a  part  of  it  was  re- 
moved to  Alter  do  Chao,  "  because  of  the  great  size  of  the 
Tapajos  mission,  the  land  not  being  sufficient  for  planta- 
tions." In  1750  the  population  was  about  four  hundred^ 
mostly  Indians,  but  Portuguese  traders  began  to  come  in, 
and  plantations  of  cacao  and  coffee  were  started  here  and 
there.  Up  to  this  time  the  place  was  simply  a  mission  settle- 
ment, "  Aldeia  dos  Tapajos;"  but  in  1754  the  Captain-Gen- 
eral, Mendonga  Furtado,  made  it  a  village,  and  gave  it  its 
present  title  of  Santarem  ;  the  Jesuit  missionaries  were  driven 
out,  and  regularly  established  priests  took  their  place  ;  and 
gradually  was  built  up  the  little  city  that  we  have  seen.  It 
had  to  pass  through  two  heavy  storms.  In  1773  the  Tapajos 
region  was  overrun  by  the  warrior  Munduruciis  Indians  ; 
every  village  was  sacked  or  reduced,  and  at  length  the  ture 
was  sounded  before  Santarem  itself.  Citizens  and  soldiers 
gathered  in  the  fort  and  met  their  assailants  with  a  hot  fire 
of  musketry;  the  Munduruciis  fought  hard,  the  women  bear- 
ing their  husbands'  arrows,  and  urging  them  on  with  their 
shouts  ;  but  in  the  end  they  were  driven  away.  Soon  after 
they  swore  peace  with  the  whites,  and  have  ever  since  been 
their  best  friends.  Santarem,  at  this  day,  would  be  exposed 
to  attacks  of  the  wild  Indians,  were  it  not  for  the  faithful 
Mundurucus  guards  in  their  villages  on  the  Tapajos.  They 
never  wavered,  even  in  the  second  great  storm — the  time 
of  the  CabaiiaeSy  in  1835.  Santarem  itself  submitted  to  the 
rebels,  but  the  Indians  joined  with  loyal  whites  to  drive  them 
out.  Through  the  city  you  will  hear  only  good  words  of 
the  Mundurucus,  and  if  a  tattooed  chief  visits  the  place,  he 
is  received  with  all  hospitality,  as  befits  his  position. 

Since  1848  Santarem  has  been  classed  as  a  city  ;  it  is  the 
head  of  a  comarca,  or  county,  comprehending  all  the  Tapa- 

134  BRAZIL. 

jos  region  and  the  country  from  Alenquer  and  Monte  Ale- 
gre  northward  to  the  Guiana  mountains.*  Of  course,  the 
greater  part  of  this  region  is  still  unbroken  wilderness.  But 
the  situation  of  the  place  is  superb  ;  if  the  Amazons  valley 
is  ever  peopled,  this  must  be  one  of  its  most  important  cities. 
The  little  fort,  it  is  true,  can  never  guard  Amazonian  com- 
merce, for  the  main  channel  of  the  great  river  is  five  miles 
away,  and  there  are  others  beyond.  So  one  is  much  inclined 
to  laugh  at  the  military  wisdom  that  spent  ten  thousand  dol- 
lars in  rebuilding  the  structure,  "  to  keep  hostile  vessels  from 
ascending  the  river."  But  the  commercial  advantages  of  the 
place  are  almost  unequalled  in  the  river-valley.  It  is  in  the 
midst  of  a  fertile  country,  and  at  the  mouth  of  a  great  river, 
the  highway  to  Matto  Grosso  ;  it  is  a  convenient  port  for  all 
Amazonian  vessels;  the  climate  is  delightful,  and  insect  pests 
are  almost  unknown.  This  little  mission  village  of  1661  will 
yet  be  a  great  city — one  of  the  emporiums  of  the  Amazons. 
Other  places  around  have  gone  to  decay;  the  rubber  trade 
has  drawn  away  their  population,  and  none  come  to  build  it 
tip.  But  Santarem  has  grown  steadily  ;  even  now  it  is  rec- 
ognized as  the  most  important  interior  city  of  the  province. 
Be  sure  it  is  in  its  nonage  yet ;  neither  you  nor  I  will  see 
it  full  grown. 

*  There  are  two  electoral  districts — Santarem  and  Monte  Alegre — and  five  towns 
{municipios),  viz.:  Santarem,  Monte  Alegre,  Alenquer,  Villa  Franca,  and  Itaituba, 



IF  ten  American  travellers  were  asked  to  give  their  views 
of  Brazil,  we  would  hear  ten  different  opinions,  grading 
all  the  way  from  paradise  to  despair.  And  I  suppose  that 
Brazilians,  travelling  in  the  United  States,  get  just  as  diverse 
impressions  of  the  country  and  its  people. 

When  anybody  asks  me  if  Brazil  is  a  good  field  for  the 
American  mechanic,  farmer,  merchant,  I  can  only  answer : 
That  depends  entirely  upon  the  man.  The  country  is  what 
it  is  ;  but  you  or  I  describe  it  as  what  it  is  not,  because  we 
see  it  only  from  our  particular  angle  of  vision  ;  we  judge  of  it 
as  it  has  treated  us  well  or  ill.  The  question  resolves  itself 
into  this  :  What  are  the  advantages  and  disadvantages  of 
hfe  in  Brazil  ?  What  men  should  come  here,  if  they  please, 
and  what  men  should  stay  at  home  in  any  case  ?  In  answer, 
we  can  only  seek  to  know  the  experience  of  old  American 
residents  ;  their  success  or  want  of  success,  and  the  reasons 
therefor.  We  can  have  no  better  field  for  these  inquiries 
than  the  Lower  Amazons. 

There  is  a  great  creaking  of  wheels  and  a  confusion  of 
driver-shouting.  Down  the  Santarem  street  come  four 
brown  horses,  dragging  an  immense  American  wagon  ;  a 
tall,  coatless   individual    sits    astride   of  one   of  the    leaders. 

136  BRAZIL. 

and  guides  the  cavalcade  with  much  flourish  and  noise. 
He  draws  up  in  front  ot  Sr.  Caetano's  store,  and  sakites 
the  merchant  ;  then  ahghts  and  marches  straight  up  to  us, 
remarking  :   '*  Wal  !     Who  are  you  ?" 

Of  course  we  get  acquainted  at  once,  and  Mr.  Piatt  *  is  a 
man  worth  knowing,  too.  He  is  one  of  some  fifty  Americans- 
who  are  established  in  the  forest  near  by  ;  Piatt  himself  is 
a  Tennessean  ;  the  others  are  from  Mississippi,  Alabama,, 
and  so  on.  In  its  origin  the  colony  was  much  larger.  Over 
two  hundred  persons  came  here  from  Mobile,  in  1866,  under 
the  guidance  of  a  certain  Major  Hastings.  This  was  shortly 
after  the  great  civil  war,  when  the  subject  of  Brazilian  emi- 
gration was  much  agitated  in  our  Southern  States.  People 
w4io  had  lost  everything  were  willing  enough  to  begin  again 
on  new  soil ;  the  Brazilian  government  encouraged  them  to> 
come,  and  agents  were  paid  so  much  per  head  for  their  im- 
portation. Naturally,  these  agents  drew  a  very  glowing  pic- 
ture of  Brazil,  and  said  nothing  at  all  about  the  difficulties 
that  emigrants  would  have  to  meet.  None  of  the  colonies 
were  very  successful ;  this  one  of  Santarem  was  badly  made 
up  in  the  outset ;  with  a  few  good  families  there  came  a  rab- 
ble of  lazy  vagabonds,  offscourings  of  the  army  and  vagrants 
of  Mobile,  who  looked  upon  the  affair  as  a  grand  adventure. 
Arrived  at  Santarem,  they  were  received  kindly  enough,  but 
after  a  little  the  good  people  became  disgusted  with  their 
guests,  who  quarrelled  incessantly  and  filled  the  town  with 
drunken  uproar.  Government  aid  for  the  colony  was  with- 
drawn ;  gradually  the  scum  floated  away,  leaving  the  mem- 
ory of  their  worthlessness  to  injure  the  others.  The  few 
families  that  remained  had  to  outlive  public  opinion,  and  a 

*  In  general,  for  obvious  reasons,  I  have  used  fictitious  names  in  this  chapttr. 


hard  time  they  had  of  it,  with  poverty  on  one  side  and  ill- 
will  on  the  other.  But  in  time  the  Brazilians  discovered  that 
these  were  not  vagabonds  ;  they  learned  to  respect  their  in- 
dustry and  perseverance  ;  and  now,  all  through  the  Ama- 
zons, you  will  hear  nothing  but  good  words  of  the  Santarem 

Farmer  Piatt  presses  us  to  "come  out  for  a  few  days."" 
So,  when  the  wagon  moves  off  presently,  we  are  seated  in 
the  bottom  of  it,  among  sundry  bales  of  dried  fish  and  bas- 
kets of  mandioca-meal — the  week's  provisions.  The  farmer 
cracks  his  whip  sharply  ;  the  sun  is  low  already,  and  the 
wheels  must  wade  through  eight  miles  of  sand  to-night. 
Bare-legged  boys  come  out  to  stare ;  the  wagon  has  not 
ceased  to  be  a  wonder,  and  truly  it  is  a  noteworthy  spectacle, 
with  the  four  horses  and  our  tall  farmer.  The  wagon,  Mr. 
Piatt  informs  us,  was  sent  from  his  old  home  in  Tennessee, 
and  it  had  to  pass  through  many  vicissitudes  of  custom-house 
and  travel  before  it  reached  this  place.  Long  ago,  a  law  was 
passed  by  which  agricultural  implements  could  be  intro- 
duced, free  of  duty;  but  practically,  this  law  is  a  dead  letter 
in  almost  every  case,  and  even  if  it  is  allowed,  the  importer 
must  be  put  to  a  vast  amount  of  trouble.  Mr.  Piatt's  wagon 
paid  quite  as  much  for  duty  as  it  cost  in  the  outset ;  every- 
body knows  that  this  extortion  was  illegal,  that  the  duty  Avas- 
excessive  in  any  case  ;  but  poor  Piatt  has  no  redress,  except 
by  a  litigation  which  he  cannot  afford.  So  he  submits,  and 
grumbles,  as  a  thousand  other  good  men  are  grumbling. 
And  Brazil  wonders  why  immigrants  do  not  come. 

By  the  time  we  have  toiled  up  one  long  slope  and  down 
another,  darkness  begins  to  fall.  The  land,  thus  far,  is  sandy 
campo;  trees  are  scattered  over  the  surface,  not  close  enough 
for  shade  nor  thickly  leaved  enough  to  be  called  luxuriant ; 

138  BRAZIL, 

they  are  low  and  gnarled ;  bushes  and  grass  cluster  about  the 
roots,  but  there  is  no  continuous  undergrowth.  The  road  is 
merely  a  track,  winding  among  the  tree-clumps  until  it  en- 
ters the  forest,  five  miles  from  Santarem, 

It  is  too  dark  now  to  see  how  great  the  change  is;  only 
the  trees  rise  high  on  either  side,  and  the  branches  almost 
meet  against  the  gray  sky  above.  Piatt's  shouts  to  his 
horses  have  a  different  sound,  among  the  echoes;  he  stoops 
now  and  then,  to  avoid  a  branch.  Here  and  there  great  vine- 
stems  hang  down  from  the  darkness  above  ;  in  making  the 
road  they  have  been  cut  away  near  the  ground,  but  the  ends 
are  still  low  enough  to  give  the  driver  an  occasional  rap  ;  he 
swings  them  right  and  left  into  the  bushes,  with  a  great 
crash ;  we  in  the  wagon  must  look  out  for  our  hats.  The 
darkness  grows  deeper,  until  the  tree-trunks  are  lost  in 
gloom  and  our  driver  is  hardly  visible.  The  forest  seems  to 
be  higher  ;  we  can  just  see  a  few  glinting  stars  overhead, 
where  the  gaps  are  widest.  Tree-frogs  and  crickets  are 
chirping  all  around;  a  night-bird  wails  from  the  branches; 
once  or  twice  we  catch  glimpses  of  moths  or  bats  flitting 
above  us. 

Presently  we  stop  with  a  jerk  :  one  of  the  wheels  is  caught 
in  a  big  lliana.  Francisco,  Mr.  Piatt's  man,  gets  out  of  the 
Avagon  and  cuts  away  the  obstruction  with  a  wood-knife. 
Then  we  go  on,  now  running  against  a  tree,  now  sinking 
deep  into  a  rut,  getting  through  somehow  with  horse-muscle 
and  man-muscle.  We  pass  a  clearing  and  a  little  thatched 
house,  hardly  visible  in  the  darkness.  Mr.  Piatt  and  Fran- 
cisco are  discussing  the  owner  of  this  house,  an  Indian,  who 
is  a  noted  hunter  in  these  parts.  Half  a  dozen  jaguar  skins 
he  has,  and  more  he  has  sold  ;  there  are  scores  of  the  animals 
on  the  hill  beyond  his  house.     Only  a  week  ago  he  shot  a 


-YGry  large  one,  but  not  until  he  had  lost  his  best  dog  by  a 
blow  from  the  creature's  paw.  F'rancisco  goes  on  to  tell 
other  hunting  stories,  and  adventures  of  his  own  in  the 
woods  ;  the  conversation  takes  a  wonderful  interest,  with  the 
darkness  around  and  the  moaning  of  the  wind  above. 

By  and  by  we  alight  to  stretch  our  legs,  walking  beyond 
the  slow-going  wagon ;  we  feel  our  way  rather  than  see  it,  so 
dark  the  road  is.  There  are  white  ant-hills  along  the  sides — 
pale  glows  of  phosphorescent  light,  like  coals  in  the  ashes.* 
They  look  ghostly  in  the  darkness,  and  we  think  of  the 
jaguar  stories  with  a  little  tremor.  But  presently  comes  the 
cheery  shout  behind,  and  the  creaking  of  the  wheels;  and 
beyond  there  is  a  great  clearing  and  a  house,  whence  the 
dogs  are  pealing  a  noisy  welcome  to  our  party. 

The  farmer's  wife  welcomes  us  cordially  ;  the  children 
are  shy,  for  they  do  not  often  see  strangers.  Greetings  over, 
we  swing  our  hammocks  under  the  thatch;  the  air  is  cool 
and  pleasant — a  little  cold  towards  morning,  so  that  we  have 
need  of  our  thick  blankets. 

But  what  a  glorious  sight  we  have  with  the  morning  sun  ! 
All  around  there  are  splendid  masses  of  green  :  cacao-trees, 
and  lime-trees,  and  great  pale  banana-plants,  and  coffee- 
bushes  straying  up  into  the  woods  ;  beyond  those,  a  bit  of 
untouched  forest,  with  a  giant  Brazil-nut  tree  towering  over 
it,  two  hundred  feet  at  least,  and  with  never  a  branch  for  a 
hundred  and  twenty  feet  from  the  ground.  Back  of  the 
house  there  is  a  steep  hillside — a  mass  of  rolling  forest  to  the 
top.  This  is  the  edge  of  a  table-land  which  extends  over  all 
the  country  to  the  south,  and  rises  in  bluffs  along  the  Tapajds 
and  below  Santarem.      The  American  families  have  located 

*  The  phosphorescence  is  in  the  hills  themselves,  not,  so  far  as  I  know,  in  the 
insects  ;  and  I  believe  that  it  is  peculiar  to  the  mounds  of  one  or  two  forest  species. 

140  BRAZIL. 

themselves  along  the  base  of  this  table-land,  at  half  a  dozen- 
different  points.  The  streams  give  them  water,  and  their 
plantations  of  sugar-cane  are  on  the  rich  black  land  along  the 
edge  of  the  plateau.  This  plateau,  by  way  of  distinction,  is 
called  the  niontanJia,  but  there  is  nothing  mountainous  in  its 
character;  it  is  simply  a  low  table-land,  about  five  hundred 
feet  above  the  river — a  spur,  probably,  of  the  higher  region 
in  Central  Brazil.  There  are  outlying  hills  on  the  campo,  and 
the  highland  forest  has  extended  over  the  lower  ground,  two- 
or  three  miles.  With  all  the  beauty  of  the  site,  Piatt  evi- 
dently has  a  hard  time  of  it;  he  looks  careworn,  and  a  little 
discouraged.  The  land  is  excellent,  but  the  stream  is  too 
small  to  give  him  a  good  water-power,  and  without  that  he 
cannot  manage  a  large  cane-plantation.  He  complains  of 
the  low  prices  that  he  receives  for  his  produce ;  the  Santarem 
traders  take  advantage  of  his  helplessness,  and  he  is  often 
obliged  to  sell  below  the  market  value. 

All  the  Americans  are  cultivating  sugar-cane;  the  juice 
is  distilled  into  rum,  which  is  sold  at  Santarem.  Probably 
coffee  or  cacao  might  pay  better,  but  our  colonists  came  here 
without  money,  and  they  could  not  wait  for  slow-growing 
crops.  Mr.  Piatt  tells  how  he  and  his  family  were  housed, 
with  the  others,  in  a  great  thatched  building  ;  how  the  colo- 
nists were  supported  for  a  while  on  government  rations, 
until  they  could  locate  their  plantations  and  get  in  their  first 
crops ;  how  they  had  to  struggle  with  utter  poverty,  work 
without  tools,  live  as  best  they  could  until  their  fields  were 
established.  Piatt  saved  a  little  money  and  bought  this 
ground  of  an  old  Indian  woman  ;  it  was  only  a  small  clearing, 
with  a  dozen  fruit-trees.  The  family  lived  in  a  rough  shed 
until  they  could  build  a  thatched  house,  and  Piatt  himself  had 
to  bring  provisions  from   Santarem,  six  miles,  on  his  back^ 


It  was  a  long  time  before  he  could  cut  a  road,  and  longer 
before  he  had  horses  for  his  work. 

Consider  the  difficulties  that  this  man  had  to  meet.  In 
the  United  States  an  emigrant  without  money  will  gener- 
ally find  employment  of  some  kind,  until  he  can  start  a  farm 
of  his  own.  Moreover,  when  he  is  able,  he  can  get  tools, 
machinery,  whatever  he  needs,  close  by  home  and  at  a  low 
price.  His  crops  meet  with  a  ready  sale ;  railroads  and 
steamboats  bring  the  market  to  his  door;  his  land  increases 
in  value  constantly  with  the  growing  population.  But  these 
Santarem  Americans  were  brought  face  to  face  with  the 
ted  forest ;  they  could  not  work  for  other  men,  except  at 
such  a  price  as  the  Indians  get — fifty  cents  per  day  at  most ; 
their  market  was  unreliable  ;  they  were  forced  to  mortgage 
their  crops  in  advance  to  obtain  tools  and  provisions  for 
their  families,  and  hence  they  always  sold  at  a  disadvantage. 
Finally,  they  had  no  machinery  for  their  work,  beyond  what 
they  could  make  themselves.  Piatt  had  to  grind  his  cane  with 
a  rough  wooden  mill  until  he  could  procure  an  iron  one  from 
the  United  States, — at  double  the  original  cost,  no  doubt. 
He  had  to  get  his  still  on  credit,  and  pay  a  high  price  for  it ; 
horses,  oxen,  carts,  casks,  were  all  obtained  by  slow  degrees, 
and  at  a  great  sacrifice.  He  has  been  his  own  carpenter, 
mason,  machinist,  everything;  it  was  a  long  time  before  he 
could  even  hire  an  Indian  to  work  for  him.  And  now,  after 
seven  years  of  hard  struggle,  he  finds  himself  with — what  ? 
A  plantation  that  he  could  not  sell  for  one-fourth  of  its  real 
value,  simply  because  there  are  no  buyers;  a  burden  of  debts 
that  it  will  take  him  a  long  time  to  pay ;  and  himself  with  a 
broken-down  body  and  a  discouraged  heart. 

This  is  the  hard  reality,  which  every  penniless  immigrant 
must  find  for  himself  in  Brazil.      It  is   not  the  fault  of  the 

142  BRAZIL. 

country  ;  the  Amazons  Valley  is  as  rich  as  our  western  prai- 
ries are.  But  in  the  West  a  man  works  with  other  men  ;  be- 
sides the  farmer-immigrant,  there  are  blacksmiths,  carpen- 
ters, machinists ;  agriculture  and  manufactures  go  hand  in 
hand  ;  division  of  labor  pushes  everything  forward,  as  in  a 
rapid  river.  On  the  Amazons  a  poor  man  has  only  himself 
to  depend  upon  ;  he  is  in  a  stagnant  pool,  a  standstill  country. 
Without  money  he  will  advance  very  slowly,  and  his  ultimate 
success  is  altogether  doubtful. 

"It  is  a  vulgar  error,"  says  Mr.  Wallace,  "  that  in  the  tropics  the 
luxuriance  of  the  vegetation  overpowers  the  efforts  of  man.  Just  the  re- 
verse is  the  case  ;  nature  and  the  climate  are  nowhere  so  favorable  to 
the  laborer." 

In  so  far  he  is  right ;   no  doubt  what  follows  was  written 
conscientiously,  and  other  men  have  thought  as  he  did. 

"  I  fearlessly  assert  that  here  the  primeval  forest  can  be  converted 
into  rich  pasture  and  meadow  land,  into  cultivated  fields,  gardens,  and 
orchards,  containing  every  variety  of  produce,  with  half  the  labor,  and, 
what  is  of  more  importance,  in  less  than  half  the  time  that  would  be  re- 
quired at  home,  even  though  there  we  had  clear  instead  of  forest  ground 
to  commence  upon,  .  .  .  Whatever  fruit-trees  are  planted  will  reach 
a  large  size  in  ti\e  or  six  years,  and  many  of  them  give  fruit  in  two  or 
three.  Coffee  and  cacao  both  produce  abundantly  with  the  minimum 
of  attention  ;  orange  and  other  fruit-trees  never  have  anything  done  to 
them.  Pineapples,  melons  and  watermelons  are  planted,  and  when  ripe 
the  fruit  is  gathered,  there  being  no  intermediate  process  whatever.  In- 
dian-corn and  rice  are  treated  nearly  in  the  same  manner.  Onions, 
beans,  and  many  other  vegetables  thrive  luxuriantly.  The  ground  is 
never  turned  up  and  manure  never  applied  ;  if  both  were  done  it  is 
probable  that  the  labor  would  be  richly  repaid.  Now,  I  unhesitatingly 
affirm,  that  two  or  three  families,  containing  half  a  dozen  working  and 
industrious  men  and  boys,  and  being  able  to  bring  a  capital  in  goods  of 
fifty  pounds,  might,  in  three  years,  be  in  possession  of  all  I  have  men- 


tioned.  Supposing  them  to  get  used  to  the  mandioca  and  Indian-corn 
bread,  they  would,  with  the  exception  of  clothing,  have  no  one  necessary 
or  luxury  to  purchase  ;  they  would  be  abundantly  supplied  with  pork, 
beef,  and  mutton  ;  poultry,  eggs,  butter,  milk,  and  cheese  ;  coffee  and 
cacao,  molasses  and  sugar,  delicious  fish,  turtles  and  turtles'  eggs  ;  and 
a  good  variety  of  game  would  furnish  their  table  with  a  constant  variety, 
while  vegetables  would  not  be  wanting,  and  fruits,  both  cultivated  and 
wild,  in  superfluous  abundance  and  of  a  quality  that  none  but  the  wealthy 
of  our  land  can  afford.  And  then,  having  provided  for  the  body,  what 
lovely  gardens  and  shady  walks  might  not  be  made  !  How  easy  to  con- 
struct a  natural  orchid-house,  beneath  a  clump  of  forest-trees,  and  to 
collect  the  most  beautiful  species  found  in  the  neighborhood  ;  what  ele- 
gant avenues  of  palms  might  be  formed  !  what  lovely  climbers  abound, 
to  train  over  arbors  or  up  the  sides  of  the  house  !  " 

Now,  if  Mr.  Wallace  had  come  here  with  his  "  two  or  three 
famihes,  containing  half  a  dozen  working  men  and  boys,"  the 
party  would  have  found  themselves  in  very  much  the  same 
plight  as  Piatt  and  his  family;  and,  at  the  end  of  five  or  six 
years,  they  would  have  been  no  better  off  than  he  is.  Your 
immigrant  cannot  live  as  the  Indians  do,  because  he  has  not 
the  woodcraft,  the  training  from  childhood  to  a  wild  life,  of 
the  brown  workman.  He  can  clear  land,  and  plant  fruit-trees 
and  mandioca,  but  it  will  be  hard  work  and  a  hard  life  ;  he  is 
not  likely  to  think  much  of  vine-covered  bowers  and  palm  ave- 
nues. I  do  not  say  that  the  dream  cannot  be  realized,  but  it 
would  require  capital  to  start  with,  and  years  of  labor.  More- 
over, the  immigrant,  living  in  the  woods,  must  be  deprived  of 
all  social  advantages.  "The  children  have  no  schooling," 
complains  Mrs.  Piatt;  "they  can't  even  go  to  a  Brazilian 
master,  for  we  are  too  far  from  town."  She  talks  of  sending 
them  to  the  States,  but  I  fear  it  will  be  a  long  time  before 
her  husband  can  afford  that.  The  family  are  Protestants, 
but  they  never  hear  a  Protestant  service  now,  unless,  rarely, 

144  BRAZIL. 

when  a  missionary  or  travelling  minister  passes  this  way. 
Sometimes  they  visit  with  the  Americans,  but  the  planta- 
tions are  far  apart,  and  the  roads  are  rough,  and  it  is  not 
often  that  they  can  make  a  holiday,  unless  it  be  of  a  Sunday. 

The  only  near  neighbor  is  Piatt's  partner,  who  lives  close 
by.  His  house  is  built  of  hewn  logs  and  has  a  good  wooden 
floor ;  probably  twice  as  much  labor  was  expended  on  it  as 
would  have  sufficed  to  build  a  good  frame  house  at  the  north. 
Only  a  few  woods  can  be  used  for  such  work  ;  they  had  to 
be  sought  out  far  and  wide  in  the  forest,  hewn  with  axe  and 
adze  into  a  square  shape,  and  then  dragged  in  with  oxen. 
The  planks  for  the  floor  were  obtained  from  a  saw-mill, 
belonging  to  another  American  ;  before  this  saw-mill  was 
erected,  all  the  boards  had  to  be  hewn  out  by  hand.  The 
roof  is  of  palm  thatch,  which  can  be  laid  on  in  a  week  or 
two.  Tables,  chairs,  benches,  are  all  of  hewn  boards,  pre- 
pared, with  immense  labor,  by  one  man. 

From  the  houses  a  steep  road  leads  up  the  face  of  the 
blufl"  to  the  cane-field  above — a  beautiful  road,  all  arched  over 
with  forest-trees,  and  draped  at  the  sides  with  a  confusion  of 
vines,  of  fifty  species.  From  the  bluff  we  can  look  off  to  the 
Amazonian  flood-plains,  and  beyond,  if  the  day  is  clear,  to 
the  blue  highlands  of  Monte  Alegre.  Near  by  we  see  the 
sandy  campo,  sharply  divided  from  the  forest,  and  outlying 
hills  cut  off  from  the  main  bluff ;  through  all,  there  is  not  a 
sign  of  cultivation,  except  in  the  clearing  below.  The  few 
Indian  houses  are  buried  in  the  woods,  and  their  plantations 
are  out  of  sight. 

The  cane-field  itself  is  a  splendid  sight ;  the  stalks  ten 
feet  high  in  many  places,  and  as  big  as  one's  wrist.  This  is 
the  rich  terra  preta,  ''  black  land,"  the  best  on  the  Amazons. 
It   is  a  fine,  dark  loam,  a  foot,   and   often    two   feet,  thick. 


Strewn  over  it  everywhere  we  find  fragments  of  Indian  pot- 
tery, so  abundant  in  some  places  that  they  almost  cover  the 

Gradually  we  extend  our  excursions  along  the  woodland 
paths  ;  we  hunt  for  insects  ;  observe  the  ways  of  birds  and 
quadrupeds  ;  daily  increase  our  stock  of  forest  lore.  None 
of  these  paths  extend  very  far  back  into  the  forest ;  in  fact, 
the  American  plantations  are  the  farthest  limits  of  civilization 
in  this  direction.  Somewhere  in  the  interior  there  are  wild 
Indians,  but  no  one  here  has  ever  seen  them  ;  the  tame  In- 
dians are  harmless  enough — good,  simple  people,  who  stand 
very  much  in  awe  of  the  whites.  They  have  thatched  houses 
scattered  along  the  streams,  and  little  plantations  of  man- 
dioca  in  the  forest ;  dress  carelessly,  in  the  European  fashion ; 
have  adopted  some  of  the  European  vices  mildly,  and  never 
aspire  to  better  their  condition. 

After  awhile  we  find  our  way  to  other  American  houses ; 
the  nearest  of  these  are  at  Diamantina,  a  little  settlement, 
two  or  three  miles  beyond  Piatt's  house.  Our  first  walk  to 
this  place  is  worth  remembering,  because  it  shows  well  the 
little  every-day  incidents  that  make  up  life  here. 

It  IS  a  pleasant,  shady  road  at  first,  leading  down  a  for- 
est-clad slope  and  into  a  valley,  where  the  vegetation  is  thick 
and  high.  Beyond,  there  are  old  clearings — capoera,  the 
Indians  say — which  have  their  own  luxuriance  of  tall  So- 
lanacece,  and  young  trees,  and  flowering  vines.  Still  far- 
ther on,  the  road  descends  again  to  a  clear  water-brook, 
with  overhanging  ferns  and  caladiums.  About  this  brook 
there  are  numberless  paths,  leading  to  Indian  houses  here 
and  there  ;  quite  civilized  and  good-natured,  the  brown  peo- 
ple are.     We  stop  at  one  or  two  of  the  houses  and  chat  with 

the    inmates,   who    are  very  neat,  and    often   good-looking. 

146  BRAZIL. 

The  Indian  laborers  are  almost  the  only  help  that  the  colo- 
nists can  get ;  they  are  willing  enough,  but  very  unreliable  ; 
restraint  is  irksome  to  them  ;  as  soon  as  they  have  a  few 
milreis  in  their  pockets,  they  go  off  on  some  hunting  or 
fishing  excursion,  and  leave  their  employer  in  the  lurch. 
It  is  a  mistake  to  suppose  that  they  are  constitutionally 
lazy ;  they  are  rather  childish,  and  improvident.  An  In- 
dian will  often  do  more  for  good-will  than  for  money.  The 
Americans  say  that  it  is  easier  to  get  steady  workmen  now 
than  it  was  when  they  first  came  here.  The  forest  people 
are  beginning  to  see  the  value  of  constant  employment. 

The  Indian  houses  are  away  from  the  path,  in  little, 
cleared  spaces — never  in  the  shade.  But  now  we  enter  a 
larger  open  space,  where  the  Americans  have  cleared  away 
the  second  growth  and  planted  the  ground  to  grass.  Mr. 
Brown  and  his  sons  are  coming  in  from  their  work  ;  we  are 
in  time  for  the  ten  o'clock  breakfast.  So  we  are  regaled 
with  fish  and  mandioca-meal  and  corn-bread — farmers'  fare 
as  the  Amazons  country  goes  ;  plenty  of  fruit  after  it,  and 
bowls  of  a  delicious  drink  made  from  the  acid  copo-assii 
fruit.  Breakfast  over,  we  chat  with  our  host,  and  stroll  out 
with  him  to  visit  the  cane-field,  which  is  well  advanced  ;  but 
we  hear  the  same  story  as  with  Piatt — increasing  hard  work 
for  a  bare  subsistence,  and  no  schools  or  society,  or  hope 
for  the  future.  Brown  wishes,  with  all  his  heart,  that  he  were 
back  in  Tennessee. 

We  stroll  down  this  path  and  that,  sometimes  meeting 
groups  of  Indians  —  Tapttios^^  they  say  here — who  pass  us 
with  a  '*  bons  dias,''  and  a  smile.      At  length  we  are  accosted 

*  Indians  of  the  great  Tupi  nation  used  the  word  tapuyd  to  designate  the  roving 
tribes  of  the  interior.  The  name,  modified  in  the  Portuguese,  has  since  been  applied, 
by  the  whites,  to  all  the  semi-civilized  Indians,  including  the  Tupis  themselves. 


by  a  loquacious  fellow,  who  has  clearly  had  more  than  his 
morning  dram  from  the  American  stills.  Now,  your  Indian 
drunk  is  always  an  Indian  affectionate.  To  us,  therefore, 
comes  this  smiling  gentleman,  and  will  enter  into  bonds  of 
eternal  friendship  ;  desires  to  know  the  use  of  our  insect-nets ; 
and  finally  insists  on  guiding  us  to  a  swamp  where  the  bichi- 
nos, — in  Tapuio- Portuguese,  httle  beasts — are  without  num- 
ber, and  most  beautiful.  We  are  not  unwilling  to  see  the 
swamp.  As  it  happens,  however,  our  friend  never  reaches  it 
at  all ;  he  gravitates  to  a  still-house,  and  there  his  negotia- 
tions for  cachaca-^xQ^-\N2\.^x  promise  to  be  interminable  ;  we 
leave  him,  and  go  on,  moralizing.  This  man,  we  will  sup- 
pose, has  earned  a  milreis — fifty  cents,  more  or  less — work- 
ing for  some  American.  He  spends  half  of  his  money  in  a 
grand  spree  ;  gets  dead  drunk,  and  sleeps,  in  dew  or  rain,  all 
night  out  of  doors.  He  has  had  no  dinner,  and  he  will  get 
no  breakfast ;  but  he  will  come  for  work  to-morrow  morning, 
and  keep  at  it  steadily  all  day,  without  appearing  at  all  the 
worse  for  it.  He  may  not  repeat  his  spree  for  a  month  ;  the 
Indians  are  sober  generally  ;  some  of  them  do  not  drink  at 
all,  or  content  themselves  with  a  small  glassful  of  rum.  The 
few  habitual  drunkards  among  them  are  thoroughly  despised 
by  the  rest.  Young  men  get  merry  at  a  dance  ox  festa ;  that 
is  the  affair  of  a  night,  which  is  sanctioned  by  custom,  and 
does  no  harm.  There  is  very  little  hard  drinking  among  the 
whites,  either,  except  with  the  lowest  class  of  Portuguese 
emigrants.  The  negroes  are  worse.  But  on  the  whole,  I 
believe  that  liquor  has  done  much  less  harm  here  than  it  has 
at  the  north.  As  public  sentiment  goes,  the  Americans  are 
no  more  blamed  for  rum-making  than  they  would  have  been 
in  the  United  States  fifty  years  ago  ;  but  most  of  them  dis- 
like the  business,  and  would  give  it  up  if  they  could. 

148  BRAZIL. 

The  still-house  belongs  to  a  Carolinian,  who  came  here 
after  the  time  of  the  Hastings  colony,  and  is  doing  better 
than  the  rest,  because  he  had  some  money  to  start  with. 
Diamantina  has  the  advantage  of  an  excellent  water-power, 
and  Mr.  Ray  is  utilizing  this  by  building  a  dam  and  a  large 
wheel,  by  which  his  cane-mill  will  be  run.  The  cane,  cut  on 
the  bluff  above,  is  brought  down  by  a  great  chute — a  trough 
six  feet  wide  and  probably  five  hundred  feet  long,  every  board 
of  which  was  hewn  out  by  hand.  Wheel  and  dam  and  mill- 
house  have  all  been  achieved  by  the  same  slow,  toilsome, 
hard  work ;  a  pitiful  waste  of  time  and  strength  ;  but  there 
is  no  choice  here. 

Ray's  house  is  really  very  pretty  ;  to  be  sure,  it  is  cov- 
ered entirely  with  palm-thatch  ;  but  the  wide  hall  through 
the  middle  looks  cool  and  inviting ;  there  are  orange-trees  on 
either  side,  and  a  flower-garden  in  front,  with  a  beautiful 
clear  water- stream  where  Ray  has  built  a  bathing-house  over 
the  water.  The  whole  looks  so  neat  and  tasteful  that  we  half 
believe  in  Mr.  Wallace's  romantic  dream  after  all.  But  there 
is  the  drunken  Indian  at  the  still,  and  Ray's  tired  face  taking 
the  color  from  the  picture.  Mrs.  Ray  speaks  sadly  of  her 
Charleston  home  and  the  intellectual  society  which  she  left 
there.  I  fear  that  this  family  is  hardly  better  satisfied  than 
are  the  others. 

We  dine  with  Mr.  Ray,  and  at  nightfall  stroll  back  to  seek 
our  quarters  at  Piatt's  house.  But,  either  from  the  darkness 
or  from  our  own  heedlessness,  we  miss  the  way,  and  keep 
on  until  we  reach  the  low  meadows  that  stretch  inland  from 
the  river.  It  happens  that  Mr.  Piatt's  negro  man  is  here, 
catching  horses  with  a  lasso,  and  he  good-naturedly  invites 
us  to  ride  back  with  him.  The  horses  are  half  wild  and 
wholly  vicious ;  but,  being  tired,  we  venture  to  mount  them, 


though  we  have  neither  saddle,  nor  stirrup,  nor  yet  a  bridle, 
but  only  ropes  tied  around  our  horses'  necksj  wherewith  we 
are  to  guide  them.  It  is  dark  already  in  the  meadow,  and 
the  forest  road  is  as  black  as  midnight.  As  we  enter  it, 
somebody's  hat  is  knocked  off — prelude  to  our  griefs,  for  the 
hanging  vine-stems  are  many,  and  the  road  is  long.  The 
hat  is  picked  up,  and  our  steeds  are  turned  by  main  force, 
we  tugging  at  the  ropes  around  their  necks.  Now  a  branch 
catches  us  under  the  chin  ;  relieved  from  that,  our  heads  are 
pounded  with  a  big  vine-stem,  and  our  arms  are  twitched  by 
briers.  We  enter  into  the  spirit  of  the  ride ;  the  horses  are 
galloping,  at  all  events,  and  we  follow  the  negro's  white  hat 
as  the  cuirassiers  followed  Murat's  plume.  Our  horses  have 
backbones — two  or  three,  possibly,  on  top  of  each  other  ; 
and  then  our  feet  are  like  lumps  of  lead  ;  we  wonder  why, 
in  our  boyish  horsemanship,  we  were  never  troubled  with 
our  feet.  We  give  up  trying  to  guide  our  animals ;  their 
natural  instinct,  or  original  sin,  does  at  length  carry  us 
through  to  Piatt's  house,  but  not  until  we  are  covered  with 
perspiration  and  aching  in  every  bone.  There  is  much 
laughing  over  our  mishaps  ;  the  negro  rolls  up  his  eyes,  and 
privately  declares  that  he  will  take  no  more  rides  in  our 
company ;  small  comfort  to  us,  who  supposed  we  were 
following  his  lead.  But  he  says  he  was  ashamed  to  stop  when 
he  saw  us  coming  so  fast.  May  his  next  adventure  end  in  a 
broken  skull ! 

In  course  of  time  we  leave  our  pleasant  quarters  at 
Piatt's,  and  go  to  live  with  other  American  families  at  Pane- 
ma,  five  miles  away.  A  motherly  hostess  we  find  in  kind 
Mrs.  May,  and  a  good  friend  in  her  son,  who  interests  him- 
self in  our  zoologizing,  and  proves  to  be  a  capital  collector. 
For  sleeping  quarters  we  have  a  house  of  our  own,  a  deserted 


one  in  the  woods,  a  quarter  of  a  mile  away  from  the  others. 
It  is  nervous  work,  sometimes,  walking  out  to  this  place,  of  a 
dark  night. 

There  is  a  great  gap  in  the  roof;  the  season  being  pleas- 
ant, and  we  careless  naturalists,  it  remains  unmended,  until 
one  night  a  driving  storm  comes  up  ;  then  the  rain  sweeps 
on  us  like  a  cataract,  and  we  are  soaked  through  in  a  trice ; 
a  second  blast  brings  down  our  swing-shelf,  with  the  precious 
collections,  tumbling  about  our  heads  ;  we  try  in  vain  to 
light  a  candle,  and  at  length  resign  ourselves  to  shivering 
in  the  dark  and  drip  until  the  storm  ceases.  As  it  turns 
out,  the  damage  is  not  very  great,  but  the  lesson  is  a  good 

Mr.  May's  establishment  is  small ;  but  there  is  another 
one  near  by,  which  is  by  far  the  most  advanced  in  the  colo- 
ny. The  proprietor  was  a  Methodist  clergyman  in  Missis- 
sippi ;  like  many  of  his  class,  he  had  a  ready  capability  for  all 
kinds  of  work  ;  was,  in  fact,  the  very  best  man  that  could 
be  chosen  for  a  pioneer.  Moreover,  he  had  a  little  money 
to  start  with,  and  two  stout  boys  to  assist  him  in  his  work ; 
he  was  sensible  enough  to  choose  a  most  desirable  location, 
where  the  land  was  rich  and  there  was  abundant  water- 
power.  With  these  advantages  he  has  advanced  steadily. 
At  first,  he  was  content  to  live  in  a  log-house,  and  work  with 
such  machinery  as  he  could  get  in  the  country ;  when  his 
plantation  was  well  advanced,  and  he  thoroughly  understood 
his  needs,  he  made  a  trip  to  the  United  States  expressly  for 
the  purpose  of  bringing  out  machinery  and  tools.  One  of 
these  importations  was  a  saw-mill ;  with  this  he  sawed  out 
boards  and  beams  for  a  good  frame  house,  and  a  great  deal 
for  sale  besides;  he  has  built  mills  for  grinding  corn,  beating 
rice,  cutting  cane-tops  for  his  cattle  ;  a  blacksmith-shop,  very 


well  equipped  ;  a  fine  cane-mill,  and  evaporators  for  sugar. 
He  has  reason  to  look  forward  with  hope  to  the  future. 

This  man  and  Mr.  Ray,  at  Diamantina,  are  the  only  ones 
in  the  colony  who  have  achieved  anything  like  success.  But 
these  two  were  not  a  part  of  the  Hastings  company ;  they 
came  alone,  chose  their  ground  carefully  and  worked  care- 
fully, with  a  fixed  end  in  view ;  and  having  capital  in  the 
outset,  they  were  independent  of  the  traders,  and  could  get  a 
good  price  for  their  produce.  They  would  have  succeeded 
anywhere  ;  better,  probably,  in  the  United  States,  than  here. 
Both  mourn  the  want  of  Protestant  churches,  and  schools  for 
their  children  ;  they  have  learned  that  Brazilian  custom- 
houses and  government  officials  are  sad  drawbacks  on  their 

The  Americans  at  Diamantina  and  Panema  are  generally 
discontented  with  their  lot,  and  no  wonder ;  they  began  work 
without  capital,  or  with  very  little,  and  they  have  been  strug- 
gling all  along  for  a  bare  existence.  Their  example  shows, 
plainly  enough  I  think,  that  the  Amazons  is  not  good  pio- 
neering ground  for  a  poor  man.  But  the  other  question 
comes  up  :  Is  it  a  good  field  for  labor  and  capital  combined  ; 
if  a  man  comes  here  with  money,  can  he  make  money,  and 
live  happily  ?  Mark,  this  question  has  nothing  to  do  with  the 
comparative  merits  of  Brazil  and  the  United  States  ;  in  nine 
cases  out  of  ten,  I  believe,  an  American  will  be  happier  in 
his  own  country  than  he  will  in  any  other.  But  a  man  may 
be  forced  by  his  health,  by  business  relations,  custom,  what 
not,  to  find  a  home  in  the  tropics.  He  has  money  to  start 
with,  or  a  rich  partner  to  support  him  ;  can  he  do  well  on  the 
Amazons  ? 

Mr.  R.  J.  Rhome  is  a  practical  American.  In  other  words, 
a  man  who  believes  so  thoroughly  in  his  own  theory  that  he 

152  BRAZIL. 

is  willing  to  put  it  to  the  test.  He  had  a  theory  that  the 
Amazonian  highlands  were  fitted  for  successful  farming.  So 
he  came  here  with  his  family,  took  the  managing  partnership 
of  a  Brazilian  plantation,  twenty  miles  below  Santarem,  and 
put  his  theory  into  practice.  At  the  end  of  twelve  years,  the 
estate  has  become  the  finest  on  the  Amazons,  and  American 
enterprise  has  built  up  an  American  home. 

He  stands  on  the  bank,  waving  his  broad-brimmed  hat, 
and  welcoming  us  as  we  land  with  a  stout  American  grip. 

Taperinha  Plantation,  from  the  River. 

Friend  of  four  years'  standing,  or  stranger  of  to-day,  it  is  all 
the  same  to  this  overflowing  hospitality ;  so  we  are  seized 
and  marched  off  to  the  house,  where  we  get  another  greeting 
from  kind  Mrs.  Rhome  and  the  bright-eyed,  healthy  children. 
The  house-servants  scramble  to  prepare  a  room  for  us  ;  three 
or  four  negroes  hurry  down  to  the  canoe  for  our  luggage  ; 
even  the  dog  wags  the  whole  hinder  portion  of  his  body  in 
sympathetic  welcome. 

The  bath  follows,  of  course  ;  a  dip  in  such  cold,  limpid 
water  as  we  have  seldom  seen  in  the  tropics ;  and  Mr.  Rhome 
has  a  bathing-house  where  you  can  swim  in  the  cement-lined 
basin,  and  take  a  shower  of  a  hundred  gallons  a  minute. 
Then  we  sit  down  to  a  bountiful  table,  whereof  every  dish  is 


the  product  of  the  plantation,  or  of  the  surrounding  woods 
and  streams  ;  even  the  wine,  equal  to  most  grape-wine,  is 
made  from  native  caju  fruits,  and  our  after-dinner  cigarettes 
are  of  fragrant  Taperinha  tobacco. 

What  next  ?  Our  kind  host  is  already  planning  a  score 
of  excursions — to  the  forest,  the  lakes,  the  highland  streams, 
— anywhere  for  miles  around.  But  there  are  a  thousand 
things  to  interest  us  nearer  home,  on  the  plantation  itself. 

The  estate,  joint  property  of  Mr.  Rhome  and  the  Baron 
of  Santarem,  is  measured,  not  by  acres,  but  by  square  miles  ; 
there  are  highland  forests  and  lowland  pastures,  lakes  stocked 
with  fish  and  turtle,  and  streams  with  water  enough  to  turn 
heavy  mills.  But  when  our  host  cam.e  here,  the  plantation 
was  run  after  the  old,  narrow,  Portuguese  style,  saving  a  cent 
and  losing  a  dollar ;  much  labor  was  wasted  for  want  of 
proper  superintendence,  and  the  proportion  of  cultivated  land 
was  very  small.  Since  then,  improved  machinery  has  been 
introduced  ;  the  great  cane-field  has  been  widened,  year  after 
year,  and  that  wonderful  novelty,  the  plov/,  has  turned  up 
rich  black  land  that  had  not  seen  the  light  for  centuries.  It 
is  a  luxury  to  find  what  intelligent  labor  can  do  here. 

In  the  tile-covered  mill-house,  half  a  dozen  stalwart  ne- 
groes are  employed  in  '*  feeding "  the  great  cane-mill,  and 
carrying  away  the  crushed  refuse.  Near  Santarem  we  saw 
the  Indian  mill — a  pair  of  squeaking  wooden  rollers,  turned 
by  four  men,  with  an  immense  expenditure  of  breath  and 
muscle.  Certain  Brazilian  plantations  have  larger  and  more 
elaborate  wooden  mills,  turned  by  horse-power,  and  a  few 
boast  of  iron  ones,  made  in  the  southern  provinces.  But  Mr. 
Rhome  assures  us  that  his  American  mill  has  effected  a  sav- 
ing of  at  least  twenty-five  per  cent,  over  the  Pernambuco 
machine  that  was  formerly  used   here ;    and    of  course,  the 



daily  grinding  can  be  greatly  increased  with  the  capacity  of 
the  rollers.*  As  on  the  other  American  plantations,  most  of 
the  cane-juice  is  distilled  into  rum,  which  commands  a  ready 
sale  along  the  river.  Mr.  Rhome  has  introduced  improved 
sugar-evaporators,  and  he  believes  that  sugar-making  will 
prove  very  profitable. 

The   Cane-miHs — Old   and   New, 

Besides  the  cane-machine,  there  is  a  saw-mill,  one  of  four 
or  five  on  the  Amazons  ;  for  the  native  carpenters  are  still 
content  to  saw  their  boards  laboriously  by  hand,  or  hew  them 
out  with  an  adze.  From  the  blocks  and  chips  lying  around, 
our  host  picks  out  a  dozen  beautiful  woods — timbers  that 
would  be  a  fortune  to  our  cabinet-makers.  There  is  jaca- 
randd,  or  true  rosewood,  and  iron-like  vioirapichima^  and  rich 

*  French  sugar-machinery  is  popular  near  Para,  and  in  the  Southern  Provinces, 
where  American  mills  are  also  used. 


brown /^V  d'arco ;  most  elegant  of  all,  perhaps,  the  moiracoa- 
tidra^  striped  with  black  and  yellow  ;  all  these,  and  fifty  others, 
will  take  a  polish  like  glass,  and  some  of  them  are  so  tough 
and  durable  that  they  are  employed  to  advantage  in  the  place 
of  brass  and  iron.  The  very  posts  on  which  the  mill-roof 
is  supported  are  fine  cabinet  timbers,  and  the  machinery  is 
mounted  with  woods  of  wonderfully  rich  color  and  grain. 

The  Taperinha  mills  are  run  by  a  turbine-wheel,  a  ma- 
chine which  is  a  standing  wonder  to  all  the  country-people. 
As  for  the  artificial  canal  which  furnishes  the  water-power, 
that  was  made  long  ago,  by  a  former  proprietor ;  the  banks 
have  been  softened  down  and  padded  with  greenery  for  years, 
until  they  rival  a  woodland  stream  in  their  richness.  Here 
the  drooping  vines  are  reflected,  and  round-leaved  water- 
plants  float  on  the  surface,  and  the  wizard  sun  comes  down 
through  the  overhanging  branches,  with  those  matchless 
tricks  of  light  and  shade  that  are  an  artist's  joy  and  despair. 

If  we  follow  up  the  canal,  we  reach  the  thick  forest  ;  and 
just  within  there  is  a  magnificent  spring,  or  rather  lake,  from 
which  the  water  flows.  I  always  bless  the  good  sense  that 
has  left  this  place  untouched  by  axe  or  wood-knife.  It  is  so 
secluded  here  that  the  forest  animals  come  to  drink  ;  so  still 
that  the  crack  of  a  broken  twig  drops  back  in  echoes  from 
the  wooded  hill-side.  A  hundred  feet  above,  the  palm-leaf- 
lets tremble  with  a  breath  of  wind;  but  the  water  below  is 
wonderfully  smooth  :  a  leaf,  circling  down  to  the  surface, 
sends  tiny  ripples  to  the  very  brim.  Far  below,  the  scene  is 
reflected  as  no  artist  could  paint  it,  as  no  pen  can  describe 
it ;  airy  lightness  of  assai  palms,  fret-work  of  tree-ferns,  the 
superb  towering  forest,  the  glory  of  a  thousand  mornings 
thrown  over  all.  Even  these  tiny  islets  have  been  touched 
and   retouched  with    loving    fingers    until   the   impossible    is 



realized  in  their  fairy  groves,  and  the  palms  bend  over  with 
quivering j'oy,  to  catch  a  glimpse  of  their  beauty. 

Yet  even  in  this  charmed  retreat  we  are  warned  of  the 
evil  side.  For  thousands  of  mosquitoes  come  charging  up 
from  the  swamps,  and  march    seven    times  around  us,  and 

sound  their 
horns,  and 
take  us  by 
storm,  and 
slay  and 
spare  not.  It 
is  hard  to  ap- 
preciate even 
such  scenery, 
when  it  in- 
volves a  kind 
of  St.  Vitus's 
dance  on  the 
part  of  the 
spectator  : 
when  the 
winged  free- 
booters go 
flying  slowly 

off  from  your  body,  just  able  to  carry  the  pint  or  so  of  blood 
with  which  their  stomachs  are  distended.  If  the  mosquito  were 
only  susceptible  to  moral  suasion  !  But  he  is  as  heartless  as 
the  New  York  small  boy  ;  he  laughs  at  your  torments,  and 
makes  merry  with  your  woe,  and  dances  diabolically  on  his 
hind  legs  to  see  you  slapping  yourself,  and  grins  when  you 
gnash  your  teeth.  And  then,  when  you  are  routed,  he 
gathers  with  his  comrades  on  a  palm-leaf,   and  lifts  up  his 

Picking  Tobacco-leaves. 



voice   in   songs    of  mirth    and   gladness,   and   sleeps   with   a 
peace  that  passeth  all  understanding. 

But  at  Taperinha,  the  mosquitoes  keep  to  the  woods, 
only  coming  out  at  night,  when  doors  and  windows  are  se- 
curely barred  against  them  ;  so  we  can  converse  sociably  of 
an  evening,  and  sleep  in  our  cotton  hammocks   undisturbed. 

There  are  plenty  of  interesting  things  to  see  about  the 
house.  Fifteen  or  twenty  men  and  women  are  employed 
here  in  preparing  to- 
bacco by  the  Ama- 
zonianprocess,  which 
is  as  different  as  pos- 
sible from  ours.  The 
leaves  are  picked 
from  the  stalks  one 
by  one,  as  they  are 
large  enough;  slight- 
ly dried  for  a  day  or 
two,  under  shelter, 
and  brought  to  the 
house  in  great  bas- 
kets. Here  the  mid- 
rib is  removed  by 
boys  and  women, 
and  the  leaves — two, 
four,  or  eight  pounds 
together — are  spread 
out  in  layers,  one 
over  the  other,  rolled 
together,  and  bound  with  strips  of  bark.  Next,  the  roll  is 
Avound  tightly  with  heavy  cord,  as  thread  is  wound  on  a  spool; 
the  strongest  workmen  are  chosen  for  this  part  of  the  pro- 

Prepanng  Tobacco. —  1.   Splitting  Jacitara.      2.   Stemming. 
3.  Spreading  the  Leaves.     4.  Rolling. 

158  BRAZIL. 

cess,  and  one  of  them  can  wind  no  more  than  fifteen  or  six- 
teen molhos  in  a  day,  twisting  the  roll  with  his  hands,  while 
the  cord,  thrown  about  a  post,  is  held  tightly  with  the  foot. 
In  this  manner  the  tobacco  is  very  strongly  compressed. 
The  roll,  after  winding,  is  left  for  several  days,  until  it  will 
retain  its  form  ;  then  the  cord  is  removed,  and  long  strips 
oi  jacitdra — the  split  stem  of  a  climbing  palm* — are  wound 
on  in  its  place.  The  tobacco  goes  to  the  market  in  this 
condition,  but  it  is  not  considered  good  until  it  has  passed 
through  a  fermenting  stage,  which  is  only  completed  at  the 
end  of  five  or  six  months.  Then  the  roll  is  hard  and  black ; 
people  shave  it  off  as  they  want  it  for  pipes  and  cigarettes ; 
the  Indians  make  large  cigars  with  wrappers  oitauari^  bark, 
but  they  are  generally  satisfied  with  a  few  whiffs,  and  the 
cigars  are  stuck  behind  their  ears,  to  get  them  out  of  the 
way  until  they  are  wanted  again. 

Roll  tobacco  brings  from  one  dollar  to  one  dollar  and  a 
half  per  pound  ;  but  the  profit  is  limited,  because  no  means 
have  been  devised  for  shortening  the  process  of  manufacture 
and  doing  away  with  the  heavy  manual  labor  involved  in  it. 
And  in  this,  as  in  everything  else,  Brazilians  object  to  any 
other  method  of  curing  the  leaves,  because  they  are  wedded 
to  the  old  form. 

Even  the  commonest  labor  here  gets  a  touch  of  warm 
tropical  color  and  motion.  A  dozen  or  more  women,  prepar- 
ing tobacco  on  the  piazza,  form  a  group  the  like  of  which 
would  be  utterly  impossible  at  the  north  ;  and  yet  I  could 
no  more  analyze  the  scene  than  I  can  describe  one  of  the 
cocoanut-palms  outside  ;  I  see  here  only  a  number  of  de- 
cidedly ugly  faces  and  brown  or  black  arms,  with  not  over- 

*  Desmoncus,  sp.  var.  t  Couratari  gujanensis,  etc. 



clean  sacks  and  skirts  ;  and  the  palm  is  only  a  crooked  gray 
stem,  and  a  mass  of  scraggy  leaves  ;  yet  both  the  pictures 
are  superb  beyond  language.  I  cannot  even  say  why  they 
are  tropical  ;  for  the  women  might  be  in  an  oyster-shop  at 
Baltimore,  and  the  palms  would  grow  in  our  green-houses  ; 

but  they  would  not  be  the 
same.  Show  me  a  lake  or 
stream  ;  fifty  yards  away 
I  will  tell  you  if  the  water 
be  warm  or  cold  ;  but  I 
cannot  say  why  I  know  it. 

The   Plantation  House,  Taperinha. 

I  can  only  describe  these  scenes  by  telling  of  my  own  in- 
ability to  draw  the  picture.  Look  at  that  great  negro,  recall- 
ing the  Discobolus  with  his  brawny  arms,  as  he  twists  the 
tobacco-roll ;  but  the  Discobolus  is  only  still,  white  marble  ; 
this  man  is  living  flesh  and  blood,  with  a  dash  of  equatorial 
glow  thrown  into  his  dark  skin.      Look  at  that  lace-maker. 



Was  ever  2. genre  painting  made  to  equal  it?  Yet  the  girl  is 
plain  enough,  and  her  actions  are  simple.  Our  host,  even,  is 
a  Brazilian-American — not  by  language,  nor  manners,  nor 
dress,  but  by  an  indescribable  tout  ensemble  that  would  dis- 
appear in  a  two-weeks'  voyage.  I  think  the  most  familiar 
thing  about  the  house  is  the  imported  cat ;  but  then,  cats 
are  tropical  everywhere. 

One  evening,  Mr.  Rhome  arranges  a  rustic  dance  among 
the  people.     It  begins  in  the  orthodox  Amazonian  manner, 

with  a  singing 
in  the  little  chap- 
el, to  which  wor- 
shippers are 
called  by  the 
beating  of  a 

Then,  when  the 
concluding  Pai- 
Nosso  is  sung, 
and  the  saint's 
girdle  is  kissed, 
the  leader  turns  master  of  ceremonies,  and  such  nondescript 
dances  follow  as  could  only  originate  in  the  fertile  brain  of 
a  negro.  There  is  an  indescribable  mingling  of  weird  and 
comic  in  the  scene  :  the  dark  faces  and  arms,  set  off  by 
white  dresses  ;  the  octogenarian  negro,  striking  his  tambou- 
rine with  a  trembling  hand  ;  the  half-naked  babies,  tumbling 
about  under  the  feet  of  the  dancers  ;  the  dim,  flaring  lamps, 
half  lighting,  half  obscuring  the  moving  figures.  We  sit 
and  watch  them  until  midnight,  and  then  go   away  as  one 





goes    from   a  theatre,   dropping   out   of  dream-life   into   the 
dark  street. 

You  call  me  an  enthusiast.  Well,  but  a  Stoic  would 
turn  enthusiast  here.  Follow  the  road  that  leads  up  to  the 
great  cane-field ;  there  were  banks  at  the  side  once  ;  but 
they  are  covered  now  with  such  a  glorious  mass  of  vines  that 
Nature  seems  to  have  outdone  herself  in  decorating — what  ? 
A  mere  clay-heap — nothing  more.  And  if  Nature  can  grow 
enthusiastic  over  a  clay-bank,  surely  our  own  enthusiasm 
over  her  masterpieces  may  be  pardoned. 

Looking  down  from  the  Cane-field,  Taperinha. 

The  hill-side  is  all  aglow.      I  am  afraid,  after  all,  that  our 

frequent  stops  are  less  to  get  up  panegyrics  on  Nature  than 

to  fan  ourselves  with  our  broad-brimmed  hats.      But  on  top 

the   breeze  is   fresh   and   cool ;    a   breath   of  the   trade-wind 

coming  up   the  valley  from  the  Atlantic.     We    are    on   the 

edge  of  the  southern  plateau  ;  the  ground  about  us  is  a  dead 

level,  sinking  suddenly  to  another  dead  level,  five  hundred 

feet  beneath.     We  can  look  across    the    flood-plains,  thirty 

l62  BRAZIL. 

miles  or  more,  to  the  blue  hills  of  Monte  Alegre  and  Erere ; 
down  below  us  the  River  Uaiaia*  winds  like  a  ribbon  through 
the  green  meadows  ;  there  are  a  few  lakes  in  sight,  but  noth- 
ing like  the  spattering  of  them  that  we  have  seen  in  other 
places.  In  their  stead  we  only  notice  the  lines  of  swampy 
forest,  and  strips  of  arums,  and  clumps  of  bushes,  all  running 
parallel  to  the  channel ;  seams  left  by  the  Amazons  in  sewing 
this  patch-work  together. 

Back  of  us,  the  great  cane-field  stretches  half  a  mile  or 
more  in  every  direction,  fresh,  green,  waving, — the  prettiest 
sight  a  planter's  eyes  could  find.  The  cane  is  cut  by  hand, 
and  brought  to  the  brow  of  the  hill  on  ox-carts ;  there  it  is 
thrown  into  a  long  chute,  which  deposits  it  cleverly  in  the 
mill-house.  A  pair  of  unlucky  oxen  managed  to  get  into 
this  chute  one  day,  and  the  poor  things  were  tossed  down  in 
half  a  minute,  mangled  and  killed  of  course. 

Every-day  life  at  Taperinha  gets  its  dash  of  the  forest. 
**By  the  way,"  says  Mr.  Rhome,  "have  you  ever  seen  a 
tapir?  "  And  he  is  reminded  that  one  was  killed  last  night ; 
we  are  to  have  a  bit  of  its  meat  for  breakfast.  Two  men 
have  slung  the  carcass  to  a  pole,  and  they  find  it  a  heavy 
load  for  their  broad  shoulders  ;  but  they  do  not  attract  much 
attention,  unless  from  our  own  unaccustomed  eyes.  The 
hunters  tell  us  how  these  animals  are  found  in  the  dry  forest, 
but  come  down  to  the  pools  to  wallow  and  drink  at  night; 
how  they  eat  fruits  and  leaves,  and  can  be  hunted  without 
danger  because  of  their  timidity.  If  the  country  were  not 
the  vast  desert  that  it  is,  the  tapirs  would  soon  be  extermi- 
nated, for  their  flesh  is  excellent,  like  tender  young  beef. 

The  Indians  bring  deer,  sometimes,  and  wild  hogs,   and 

*  Pronounce  it  Wa-ya-ya. 


cotias,  and  pacas  ;  Mr.  Rhome  shows  us  the  skins  of  half  a 
dozen  jaguars  and  pumas  which  have  been  shot  about  the 
estate.  One  might  hastily  infer  that  the  forest  is  crowded 
with  game,  just  as  it  used  to  be  represented  in  the  geography 
pictures ;  but  in  point  of  fact  the  hunters  often  search  for 
hours,  without  seeing  so  much  as  a  monkey  or  a  squirrel. 

The  provision  houses  are  the  lowland  lakes  and  channels. 
We  can  go  out  any  evening  with  the  fishermen,  who  supply 
not  only  the  proprietor's  table,  but  the  people  of  the  estate. 
Motherly  Mrs.  Rhome  packs  away  a  great  basket  of  pro- 
visions for  us,  and  we  take  care  to  go  with  thick  coats,  for 
the  night  air  is  cool.  Thus  fortified,  we  seat  ourselves  with 
our  host  in  the  middle  of  a  wooden  canoe,  among  heaps  of 
carana  fagots,*  which  are  to  be  used  for  torches. 

The  river  is  still  and  dark ;  we  see  the  stars  reflected  in 
it,  and  flickering  with  the  current  until  we  can  hardly  tell 
them  from  the  dancing  fire-fiies  above.  Clumps  of  forest 
stand  out  vaguely  over  the  meadows;  in  the  shadow  you 
cannot  tell  where  water  ends  and  land  begins.  The  men 
paddle  swiftly  but  silently ;  we  can  hear  fish  leaping  from 
the  water,  night-birds  complaining  from  the  solitary  trees, 
frogs  and  crickets  in  the  marshes,  a  stray  alligator,  maybe, 
rippling  the  surface  as  he  disappears  beneath  it.  And  the 
imagination  looks  into  the  depths  and  sees  strange  forms, 
undefined  beings,  rising  slowly  from  the  shadows,  waving 
and  beckoning,  and  sinking  back  into  the  water,  and  lifting 
themselves  again  to  gigantic  heights.  O  Night  and  Soli- 
tude !     Ye  are  the  peopled,  the  full  of  life  ! 

Our  fisherman  lights  his  torch  and  throws  a  ruddy  glow 
over  the  water.     Now  our  phantoms  hide  among  the  reeds. 

*  The  leaf-stalks  of  a  lowland  palm,  Mauritia  carana. 

1 64 


and  peep  out  from  behind  the  tree-trunks,  and  move  their 
wings  overhead  as  they  flit  past  us  :  childish  monsters  that 
fly  the  Hght  and  yet  return  to  it ;  gigantic  human  moths  ; 
vapory  bats  and  owls. 

Flap  !  The  man  in  the  bow  has  speared  a  fish  in  the 
shallows  :  waving  the  torch  with  his  left  hand,  while  he  uses 
the  trident  with  his  right.  Flap,  flop  !  A  big  carauana  is 
squirming  about  in  the  bottom  of  the  canoe  ;  the  ghosts  start 
in  dismay,  and  fly  silently  into  the  darkness.     And  the  torch 

Fishing   by  Torchlight. 

flares  and  leaps,  and  sends  great  rockets  after  them,  and 
flickers  down  to  a  coal,  and  flames  up  angrily  to  grasp  their 
returning  forms.  Flop  !  There  is  another  fish — and  another 
— a  harvest  of  them  ;  the  torch-holder  cannot  spear  them  fast 
enough  ;  and  ever,  as  he  raises  his  arm,  a  shadow  springs 
away  behind  his  half-naked  body,  and  dives  under  the  ca- 
noe, and  dances  up  on  the  other  side,  and  disappears  into  the 


unknown,  and  brings  back  a  thousand  more  to  the  harmless 
warfare.  We  paddle  slowly  about  among  the  grass-clumps, 
sometimes  starthng  a  bird  on  an  overhanging- branch  ;  once 
the  poor  bewildered  thing  comes  within  reach  of  a  boatman, 
who  catches  it  in  his  hand  to  carry  home  to  the  children  ; 
and  the  ghosts  and  witches  throw  themselves  aloft  Avith  mad 
joy,  and  sink  to  despair  in  the  inky  waters,  rustling  the 
leaves  above,  and  vanishing  into  nowhere,  and  forming  them- 
selves again  out  of  nothing,  until  the  torch  goes  out  and 
leaves  them  masters  of  the  field ;  and  we  go  home  to  sleep 
into  the  bright  morning  and  the  unpeopled  reality. 

The  realit}^  is  better,  though.  The  orange-trees  are  drink- 
ing in  sunshine  ;  the  palm-leaves  wave  and  nod,  and  toss  the 
light  about  with  their  delicate  fingers,  and  make  kaleidoscope 
patterns  for  their  own  adornment.  No,  no  !  The  day,  too, 
is  full  of  people — my  people — real  bodies  and  hearts,  making 
up  this  great,  quivering  still-life,  with  its  wonderful  unity,  its 
infinite  variety.  People  talk  about  palm-trees,  as  though 
they  were  all  one.  There  are  thirty  kinds  of  palms  around 
Taperinha,  from  the  four-foot-high  inarajd-i*'  to  the  towering 
inajd,^  and  every  kind  has  Its  own  superb  majesty,  or  delicate 
grace,  or  mild,  tender  beauty.  Now  I  am  a  lover  of  palms. 
If  anybody  else  insists  that  they  are  like  **  feather- dusters 
struck  by  lightning,"  then  I  wish  them  joy  of  their  opinion. 
But  really,  there  is  as  much  difference  between  the  described 
palm  and  the  real  one,  as  there  Is  between  a  feather-duster 
and  the  bird  that  wore  the  feathers. 

Nature  forms  wonderful  combinations  with  palms.  We 
have  seen  them  about  the  Breves  channels,  where  the  forest 
is   resplendent  Avith  their  regal   processions.      But  along  the 

•"  Bactris,  species  :  there  are  many.  t  Maximiliana  regia. 

1 66  BRAZIL. 

highlands  are  fairy  palaces,  where  their  beauty  is  more  quiet, 
perhaps,  but  so  warm  and  tender  that  we  forget  all  about 
their  princely  lineage,  and  grow  familiar  with  them,  and  form 
special  friendships,  just  as  we  would  with  beeches,  and  oaks, 
and  elms. 

Many  kinds  gather  about  the  swift-flowing  streams,  for 
they  love  to  have  their  roots  bathed  always  in  the  cool  water, 
while  their  leaves  reach  up  toward  the  sunshine.  There  is 
such  a  stream  near  Taperinha — the  Igarape-assu — and  I  think 
I  never  appreciated  the  possibilities  of  palm  scenery  until  I 
went  there. 

The  mouth  of  the  Igarape  is  lost  in  floating  grass,  through 
which  the  canoe  must  be  pushed  for  half  a  mile  or  more.  By 
and  by  we  enter  a  narrow  stream,  bordered  on  either  side 
by  thickets  of  fan-leaved  carand*  palms,  and  pretty  iJiai'a- 
jds ;  ^  these  two  grow  only  on  very  low,  wet  land. 

It  is  rarely  beautiful,  even  here  ;  but  farther  up,  the  swift 
stream  is  all  closed  in  and  arched  over  with  trees,  and  there 
the  assais\  grow  in  thousands;  slender  stems  throwing  them- 
selves fifty  or  sixty  feet  into  the  air,  and  leaves  all  alive  with 
that  tremulous  motion  that  is  seen  with  every  palm,  but  never 
so  perfectly  as  in  the  assai.  The  banks,  too,  are  covered 
with  broad-leaved  plants,  and  there  are  great  philodendrons 
on  the  trees,  and  vines  trailing  from  the  branches  ;  but  all 
this  tropical  splendor  is  so  mellowed  and  softened  down,  with 
touches  of  sunshine  and  curtains  of  shadow,  that  it  comes 
back  to  the  heart  like  strangely  familiar  music,  heard  now 
for  the  first  time,  but  floating  in  the  memory,  far  away,  long 

From  the  head  of  the  Igarape-assu  there  is  a  little  narrow 

*  Mauritia  carana.  t  Bactris  maraja  ?  %  Euterpe  edulis. 


path,  leading  back  through  swamp  where  one  must  wade  up 
to  the  knees  in  black  mud  ;  beyond,  the  trail  passes  on  to  the 
thick  forest.  There  the  salsaparilla-gatherers  go  every  year, 
remaining  for  weeks  together  by  a  little  muddy  pool,  where 
the  water  swarms  with  leeches ;  yet  it  seems  wholesome 
enough  for  drinking.  I  once  spent  four  or  five  days  at  this 
place,  going  out  every  day  with  my  Indian  companions,  who 
searched  the  forest  for  miles  around  our  camp.  After  a  little 
I  learned  to  recognize  the  prickly  salsaparilla-vine,  and  to  dis- 
tinguish from  it  two  or  three  other  species  of  similar  appear- 
ance. The  men  showed  me  how  to  dig  the  roots  with  a  sharp 
stick,  taking  care  that  the  larger  ones  were  not  broken  ;  they 
were  often  ten  feet  long,  but  lay  very  near  the  surface. 
Sometimes  we  found  half  a  dozen  roots  springing  from  one 
vine,  together  weighing  perhaps  two  or  three  pounds  ;  they 
were  all  uncovered  carefully,  and  cut  off  near  the  stem  ;  a 
little  earth  was  then  drawn  about  the  stumps,  so  that  they 
would  send  out  new  shoots.  The  salzeiros  take  mental  note 
of  these  places,  and  return  to  them  during  the  next  season. 
One  of  our  older  hunters  must  have  known  the  localities  of 
several  hundred  vines  ;  in  fact,  all  the  Indians  are  remarkable 
for  their  local  memories  ;  if  once  they  have  visited  a  spot 
they  will  hardly  fail  to  find  it  again,  even  after  many  years. 

I  remember  our  long  march  home  through  the  woods  ; 
each  Indian  laden  with  sixty  or  eighty  pounds  of  salsa  and 
game,  but  trudging  on  merrily  enough.  The  roots  are  sold 
to  traders,  and  finally  exported,  in  large  part  to  Europe  and 
the  United  States.  No  doubt  the  salsaparilla  will  be  culti- 
vated in  time,  as  it  might  be  with  good  profit.  Mr.  Rhome 
has  a  thriving  little  plantation  of  the  vines  ;  but  some  years 
must  pass  before  they  are  very  productive.  Other  drugs, 
commonly  obtained  in  the  forest,  are  now  produced  on  the 

1 68  BRAZIL. 

plantation.  This  shady  colonnade  is  made  up  of  andiroba- 
trees,*  and  from  their  large,  triangular  nuts  scattered  on  the 
ground,  is  obtained  the  bitter  oil,  used  for  burning  and  for 
medicinal  purposes.  This  smaller  tree  is  the  icructi  (anattot), 
which  has  been  cultivated  by  the  Indians  from  time  imme- 
morial ;  the  scarlet  seeds  are  used  for  painting  calabashes, 
and  other  small  articles,  and  they  are  exported  in  consider- 
able quantities.  The  magnificent  castor-oil  plants  \  would  be 
worth  cultivating  if  only  for  their  beauty  ;  you  will  see  them 

Looking  up  the   Uaiaia  from   Tapermha. 

about  any  country-house,  groves  that  rival  the  banana-trees 
with  which  they  are  contrasted. 

At  Taperinha,  as  at  Diamantina  and  Panema,  and  far  up 
the  Tapajos,  the  bluff-land  owes  its  richness  to  the  refuse  of 
a  thousand  kitchens  for  maybe  a  thousand  years  ;  number- 
less palm-thatches,  which  were  left  to  rot  on  the  ground  as 
they  were  replaced  by  new  ones.  For  the  bluffs  were  cov- 
ered with  Indian  houses,  "  so  close  together,"  says  Acuiia, 
*'that  from  one  village  you  can  hear  the  workmen  of  an- 
other." The  people  made  coarse  pottery  and  marked  it  with 
quaint  devices.  We  find  fragments  scattered  everywhere, 
and  Mr.  Rhome  has  been  making  archaeological  collections 

*  Carapa  Guyanensis.  +  Bixa  orellana. 

X  Ricinus  communis,  introduced  from  India.     On  the  Amazons  it  is  called  carra- 
pdto^  (name  of  a  wood-tick). 


for  years.  He  gets  all  sorts  of  curious  clay  figures  :  vultures' 
heads,  frogs,  a  cock  with  comb  and  wattles  complete,*  a 
whistle,  and  one  odd-looking  affair  punched  full  of  holes, 
which — so  Mr.  Rhome  laughingly  insists — must  be  a  tooth- 

We  found  the  black  land  and  its  antiquities  on  the  bluffs 
of  Panema  and  Diamantina  ;  we  shall  find  it,  also,  all  along 
the  bluffs  of  the  Lower  Tapajos  ;  and  here,  twenty-five  miles 
below  Santarem,  we  find  it  again  in  a  like  situation.  Now, 
all  these  bluffs  are  the  edges  of  the  same  plateau,  and  the 
pottery  and  stone  implements  are  everywhere  similar.  On 
the  Tapajos  the  black  land  occurs  at  intervals  of  from  one 
to  five  miles ;  but  from  Panema  to  Taperinha,  and  for  some 
distance  below,  it  forms  almost  a  continuous  line  ;  indicating, 
in  fact,  a  single  village,  or  city,  thirty  miles  long,  but  ex- 
tending only  a  little  way  in  from  the  edge  of  the  plateau. 
At  intervals,  there  are  signs  of  ancient  roads  leading  down 
toward  the  river,  as  at  Diamantina.  Acuiia  gives  no  posi- 
tive evidence  of  such  a  city  ;  he  says  only,  that  the  Tapajos 
region  is  very  populous,  and  that  he  and  his  party  encamped 
near  a  village  where  were  five  hundred  families.  But  we 
must  remember  that  the  bluffs  do  not  border  the  main  Am- 
azons, except  far  below  here ;  Acuna,  entering  the  Tapajos, 
may  have  encamped  near  Santarem,  which  is  on  lower  land, 
five  or  six  miles  from  the  plateau ;  or,  if  he  ascended  the 
river,  he  saw  only  the  smaller  villages,  at  Alter  do  Chao  and 
beyond.  We  have  no  evidence  that  he  penetrated  inland  at 
all ;  he  knew  that  there  were  many  people  on  the  hills,  but 
he  did  not  know  that  their  villages  were  run  together  in  a 
continuous  line.     Pedro  Texeira,  in  his  voyage  to  the  Tapa- 

*  Acuna  says  that  the  Indians  had  fowls,  descended  from  Peruvian  stock  which 
had  been  passed  from  tribe  to  tribe  down  the  valley. 


jos  in  1626,  would  naturally  have  entered  the  main  mouth  of 
the  river,  first  touching  the  bluffs  near  Alter  do  Chao,  as  is 
indicated  in  the  chronicle  :  "  He  entered  the  river  for  twelve 
leagues,"  and  then  discovered  the  Tapajos  Indians.  So  he 
can  have  seen  nothing  more  than  Acuna  did  in  1639. 

In  1868,  the  Viscount  of  Porto  Seguro  disinterred  an 
old  manuscript  from  the  Imperial  Library  of  Vienna,  and 
published  it  for  the  first  time.  This  little  book  is  entitled 
"Description  of  the  State  of  Maranhao,  Para,  Corupa  (Gu- 
rupa),  and  River  of  the  Amazons."  It  was  written  in  1662 
or  thereabouts,  by  one  Mauricio  de  Heriarte,  by  order  of  the 
Governor-General,  Diogo  Vaz  de  Sequeira,  and  it  gives  a 
great  deal  of  curious  information,  gathered,  no  doubt,  from 
various  Portuguese  adventurers.  Now,  in  this  work  it  is  dis- 
tinctly stated  that  there  is  a  great  village,  or  city,  of  the  Ta- 
pajos Indians  near  the  mouth  of  the  river. 

"  This  Province  of  the  Tapajos  is  very  large,  and  the  first  village  is 
placed  at  the  mouth  of  a  long  and  great  river,  commonly  called  river  of 
the  Tapajos.  It  is  the  largest  village  and  settlement  which  we  know  of, 
up  to  this  time.  Alone,  it  sends  out  sixty  thousand  bows,  when  it 
makes  war  ;  and  because  the  Tapajds  Indians  are  many,  they  are  feared 
by  all  the  nations  around,  and  thus  have  made  themselves  sovereigns 
of  all  that  district.  They  are  corpulent,  and  very  large  and  strong. 
Their. arms  are  bows  and  arrows,  like  those  of  the  other  Indians,  but 
the  arrows  are  poisoned,  so  that,  until  now,  no  remedy  has  been  found 
against  them ;  and  that  is  the  cause  why  they  are  feared  of  the  other 
Indians."  * 

A  few  antiquities  have  been  found  near  Santarem,  but 
there  is  no  black  land  there,  and  no  evidence  of  an  extensive 
village.  We  must  suppose,  therefore,  that  Heriarte  had  ref- 
erence to  these  bluffs,  which  follow  the  line  of  the  Amazons 

*  Heriarte,  op.  cit.  p.  3$. 


and  Tapajos,  but  five  or  six  miles  inland.*  The  Indians  dwelt 
here  because  of  the  security  which  the  high  land  afforded 
them,  and  because  the  sandy  campo  close  about  Santarem 
was  unfit  for  cultivation.  The  Portuguese  slave-hunting 
parties  drove  away  the  Indians,  and  when  the  missionaries 
arrived  there  was  only  a  remnant  left.  But  there  can  be  no 
doubt  that  the  Tapajos  tribe  occupied  the  bluff";  whether 
they  were  the  first  tenants,  or  whether  all  the  antiquities  are 
to  be  referred  to  them,  the  archeologists  must  determine. 

Among  other  objects  that  were  disinterred  at  Taperinha, 
and  described  by  the  late  Prof.  Hartt,  are  several  broken 
jars,  containing  fragments  of  calcined  human  bones,  mixed 
with  charcoal  and  ashes.  We  know  that  many  of  the  Bra- 
zilian Indians  were  accustomed  to  bury  their  dead  in  the 
floors  of  their  houses  ;  our  Taperinha  tribe  (either  the  Tapa- 
jos or  their  predecessors)  held  this  custom,  but  it  would  ap- 
pear that  they  were  also  cremationists  ;  burned  the  bodies  or 
bones,  and  placed  them  in  jars  before  interring  them.f  The 
pots  are  curiously  ornamented  with  angular  figures  ;  from 
these,  and  other  ornamented  pottery,  Prof.  Hartt  drew  many 
interesting  conclusions.  Stone  utensils  are  much  less  com- 
mon at  Taperinha  than  they  are  on  the  Tapajos ;  they  con- 
sist of  diorite  axe-heads,  and  a  few  other  implements  of  the 
same  material.     I  suppose  that  the  bluff-dwellers  tipped  their 

*See  also,  Barboza  Rodriguez  :  O  Rio  Tapajos,  p.  125. 

t  Prof.  Hartt  called  attention  to  a  similar  fact  in  describing  the  burial-jars  of  Ma- 
rajo.  "The  largest,"  he  wrote,  "  were  too  small  to  accommodate  a  skeleton,  even  if 
disarticulated.  All  the  bones  found  in  the  urns  were  fragmentary.  The  probabili- 
ties are  that  the  bodies  were  burned,  and  that  only  the  ashes  and  charred  bones 
were  placed  in  the  jars.  (Amer.  Naturalist,  July,  1871.)  Barboza  Rodriguez, 
I  know  not  with  what  proof,  writes  that  the  bones  were  buried  in  "  a  kind  of  pot, 
which  was  placed  in  a  jar  ornamented  with  geometric  lines."  Among  the  Mundu- 
rucus  of  the  present  day,  the  bones  of  dead  warriors  are  kept  for  three  years  in  the 
houses  ;  then  they  are  placed  in  a  jar  and  buried. 

172  BRAZIL. 

arrows  with  bone  and  bamboo,  as  the  wild  tribes  do  to  this 
day ;  two  or  three  beautiful  flint  arrow-heads  have  been 
found  at  Taperinha,  but  their  very  rarity  leads  us  to  sup- 
pose that  they  belonged  to  a  much  older  people  than  the 
Tapajos.  To  this  older  tribe,  perhaps,  may  be  referred  the 
great  Kjocken-inoeding  shell-heap  below  the  hill.  The  heap, 
which  is  at  least  twenty  feet  high,  and  a  hundred  yards  long, 
is  made  up  of  river-shells,  unios,  castalias,  and  hyareas  ;*  it 
contains  hardly  any  pottery,  and  the  few  fragments  found  are 
without  ornament ;  a  sufficient  proof,  I  think,  that  it  cannot 
have  been  formed  by  the  bluff-dwellers,  whose  pottery  fairly 
covers  the  ground  in  many  places. f  Our  host  has  obtained 
very  good  lime  by  burning  these  shells,  and  other  shell-heaps 
along  the  Amazons  are  used  for  the  same  purpose. 

But  the  time  comes  when  we  must  say  a  regretful  adeos 
to  our  kind  host,  who  loads  us  with  favors  and  presents  to 
the  last,  and  sends  a  canoe  to  take  us  to  Santarem  with  the 
treasures  we  have  gathered  through  his  kindness.  Then 
there  is  the  long  night-ride,  and  the  torturing  mosquitoes, 
and  the  sunny  morning,  and  the  bright  sand-beach  by  the 
mouth  of  the  Tapajos,  with  its  clusters  of  javary-palms.  So, 
as  we  leave  this  American  farmer,  the  important  question 
comes  up  again  :  Is  the  Amazons  an  inviting  field  for 
American  enterprise  ?  Especially  is  it  fitted  for  profitable 
farming  ? 

By  nature,  yes.  Perhaps  so,  even  with  the  present  bar- 
barous laws  that  govern  settlers.  I  believe  that  the  Amazons 
Valley  is  by  nature  one  of  the  richest  agricultural  regions  of 

*  These  shell-fish  are  sometimes  eaten  by  the  modern  Indians,  but  they  are  little 
esteemed.  ^ 

t  The  shell-heap  has  been  described  by  Barboza  Rodriguez  (O  Rio  Tapajos,  p. 
36),  and  by  Prof.  Hartt. 


the  world.  I  wish  also  to  insist  on  another  fact.  Rio  de 
Janeiro  is  five  thousand  miles,  in  round  numbers,  from  New 
York  ;  Para  about  three  thousand.  Sugar-cane,  cotton,  and 
corn  will  all  grow  better  here,  and  give  larger  and  surer  crops, 
than  in  the  southern  provinces  ;  I  know  this,  not  from  the 
mere  prejudiced  reports  of  the  planters,  but  by  months  of 
personal  observation  in  both  regions.  And  strange  as  it 
may  seem  to  our  merchants,  the  finest  coffee  in  Brazil  at  this 
day  grows  on  the  Amazons  ;  it  used  to  be  produced  in  con- 
siderable quantities,  but  the  industry  was  killed  by  the  ex- 
port duties  and  the  lack  of  labor. 

I  feel  sure  that  the  northern  provinces  must  eventually  be 
the  great  agricultural  regions  of  Brazil,  not  only  because  of 
their  productiveness,  but  because  they  are  nearer  to  Europe 
and  America,  the  great  markets.  Then  there  is  the  further 
advantage  of  unrivalled  water-channels  for  internal  communi- 
cation: in  fact,  the  country  seems  fitted  by  nature  for  an 
agricultural  community. 

But  here  man  steps  in  with  his  stupid  laws  and  blocks  the 
garden  gate.  On  the  Amazons  there  are  land-grants  for  set- 
tlers, it  is  true,  but  they  are  involved  in  so  much  red  tape 
that  one  never  feels  sure  of  his  property  ;  and  the  expense 
of  surveying,  procuring  papers,  etc.,  is  generally  as  much  as 
it  would  take  to  buy  the  land  outright.  Machinery  and 
agricultural  implements  are  admitted  free  of  duty ;  but  the 
owner  is  sure  to  have  a  vast  deal  of  trouble  at  the  custom- 
house, because  the  law  is  not  well  understood,  or  is  pur- 
•posely  ignored  ;  and  then  there  is  the  heavy  expense  of 
shipping.  Finally,  there  are  the  insane  export  duties,  which 
will  ever  remain  incomprehensible  to  a  thinking  American. 
Why,  for  instance,  should  a  duty  of  fourteen  per  cent,  be 
retained  on  timber,  w^hen  the  simple  fact  that  there  is  such  a 

1 74  BRAZIL. 

duty  keeps  every  stick  of  timber  from  the  market  ?  Why 
should  a  duty  be  kept  on  sugar,  cotton,  hides,  when  the  only 
effect  of  the  impost  is  to  kill  the  industries  altogether  by 
preventing  competition  with  other  countries  ?  It  is  like  the 
stingy  merchant  who  insists  on  charging  double  price  for  his 
goods,  and  only  cheats  himself  by  his  meanness. 

Mr.  Rhome  has  had  to  work  against  these  and  a  thousand 
other  obstacles ;  but  he  believes  that  profitable  farming  can 
be  carried  on  here,  and  his  own  plantation  is  a  striking  proof 
of  his  views.  He  has  adopted  the  rule  of  improving  on  Bra- 
zilian methods  of  work  rather  than  attempting  to  introduce 
novelties  ;  and  his  produce  is  all  sold  in  the  province,,  so  that 
it  is  subject  to  no  duties. 

After  all,  as  I  said  before,  it  depends  on  the  man.  We 
have  seen  what  Mr.  Rhome  has  done.  Well,  he  has  suc- 
ceeded because  he  is  the  man  to  succeed.  Very  likely,  also, 
because  he  has  found  a  rich  and  enterprising  partner,  with 
thirty  or  forty  slaves  to  do  his  work.  My  dear  friend,  I 
would  have  failed  utterly.  So  will  you,  very  likely,  and 
when  you  describe  the  Amazons  valley  you  will  nail  *'  Aban- 
don hope  "  over  the  portals  and  cry  to  all  mankind  that  my 
misrepresentations  led  you  to  this  Inferno.  I  cannot  help 
it.  I  describe  natural  riches  and  natural  scenery  only  half  as 
brightly  as  I  wish  I  could.  I  describe  the  drawbacks  of  the 
country  as  well  as  I  can.  I  describe  one  man's  success  as  I 
see  it,  but  with  the  express  addition  that  this  success  is  ex- 
ceptional, almost  unique.  I  have  known  many  good  and 
enterprising  men  who  have  failed,  or  almost  failed,  on  the 
same  ground  ;  I  know  a  few  who  have  succeeded. 

In  general,  if  a  man  has  no  money,  I  would  say  to  him: 
Keep  away  from  Brazil.  Brains  and  muscle  are  worth  at  least 
as  much  at  home,  and  if  you  fail  you  fail  among  friends.    But 


if  you  have  a  few  hundred  or  thousand  dollars  to  spare  on 
the  experiment ;  if  you  are  content  to  do  without  Protestant 
churches  ;  if  you  have  no  children  to  educate,  or  can  afford 
to  take  a  tutor  with  you ;  if  you  can  be  satisfied  with  strange 
customs  and  little  refined  society,  then  you  may  go  to  the 
Amazons  with  a  clear  conscience.  But  go  with  a  definite 
purpose.  Don't  waste  your  time  on  some  vague  idea  of 
riches,  to  be  gained  you  know  not  how.  Go  prepared  to  do 
hard  work,  with  knowledge  and  judgment  enough  to  keep 
you  out  of  the  fever  districts,  with  patience  enough  to  stand 
the  mosquitoes.  Then,  if  you  fail,  you  will  at  least  have 
gained  a  valuable  test  of  your  own  capabilities  If  you  suc- 
ceed, you  may  possibly  build  up  a  fortune. 

That  is  the  best  that  can  be  said  ;  but  in  any  case  I  do 
not  think  that  Americans  will  be  the  ones  to  build  up  Brazil. 
They  will  come  here,  as  you  and  I  come,  to  study  nature, 
admire  the  woods  andVivers,  enjoy  the  wild  life;  they  will 
come  as  merchants  to  the  cities ;  but  they  will  not  often  come 
as  planters,  because  our  own  country  is  as  rich,  and  is  better 
governed  than  this  one.  Some  time  Brazil  will  give  up  her 
senseless  colonization  schemes,  and  open  this  rich  land  to 
the  world,  by  taking  off  the  burdens  of  export  duties,  and 
encouraging  manufactures.  Then  the  country  will  fill  up, 
as  ours  has  done,  with  European  emigrants,  from  which  a 
stronger  and  better  race  will  spring.  That  is  Brazil's  hope 
for  the  future  ;  we,  who  write  for  the  present  generation, 
cannot  be  too  careful  how  we  encourage /^^r  men  to  come 



BUT  what  of  the  deep  woods  ?  Away  to  the  southward 
there  stretches  a  green  labyrinth  whereof  no  man 
knows  the  boundary  ;  an  undiscovered  country,  a  region  of 
dreams  and  mysteries.  It  must  be  three  or  four  hundred 
miles  at  least  from  here  to  the  open  lands  of  Central  Brazil ; 
and  this  is  only  a  fragment  of  the  whole.  To  the  east,  to 
the  north  beyond  the  Amazons,  to  the  west  fifteen  hundred 
miles,  there  are  trees,  and  trees,  close  together,  minghng  their 
boughs,  netted  with  vines,  a  vegetable  infinity. 

From  Pizarro's  time  until  now  there  have  been  expedi- 
tions into  the  forest  ;  scores  of  authors  have  written  about  it 
in  nearly  every  civilized  language.  But  after  all,  the  tangle 
has  only  been  discovered  at  many  different  points  ;  it  has 
never  been  explored.  Your  careful  writer  will  generalize 
Avith  a  qualifying  phrase  :  "  So  far  as  we  know  "  the  forest  is 
so  and  so.  I  find  high  woods,  for  instance,  on  the  Xingii 
along  its  western  bank  ;  I  find  similar  woods  on  the  eastern 
side  of  the  Tapajos  ;  and  I  infer  that  all  the  intervening  space 
is  like  these  two  spots.  In  this  case  I  have  fair  confirmation 
from  the  reports  of  Indians  and  fugitive  slaves.  But  from 
other  regions  there  are  no  reports  at  all ;  tracts  as  large  as 



New  England  are  utterly  unknown.  However,  we  may  safely 
suppose  that  the  same  climate,  over  the  same  low  plain  every- 
where, will  encourage  a  similar  forest  growth.  Reasoning 
from  this,  and  the  knowledge  that  we  have,  we  can  tell  pretty 
nearly  the  extent  and  limits  of  the  great  wood. 

In   general    language  we    may   say   that  it   occupies    the 
northern  plain  of  South  America.     That  is,  part  of  Bolivia, 

Forest  Group. 

Peru,  Ecuador  and  Colombia  east  of  the  Andes  ;  Southern 
Venezuela;  Guiana;  and  all  of  Brazil  north  of  lat.  10°  S., 
and  west  of  the  River  Parnahyba,  with  extensions  as  far  as 
15°  or  even  20°  S.  In  other  words,  if  you  please,  the  con- 
nected basins  of  the  Amazons  and  the  Orinoco. 

We  note  two  things  in  the  outset.     First,  the  body  of  the 



forest  lies  within  ten  degrees  nortii  or  south  of  the  equator, 
where  rains  are  more  or  less  abundant  all  through  the  year ; 
second,  it  is  higher  and  thicker  and  wider  in  the  dripping 
west-region  ;  toward  the  east  it  narrows  off,  and  here,  also, 
it  is  broken  somewhat  by  more  open  tracts,  sandy  or  stony 
campos.  The  largest  of  these  campos  are  on  the  northern 
side  of  the  Amazons,  between  the  river  and  the  Guiana  Moun- 
tains.    We  have  seen  how  the  trade-wind  is  dried  by  these 

Sandy  Campos  (Hill-sides) 

mountains,  so  the  rains  are  less  abundant  on  their  lee.  To 
the  south  of  the  Amazons  there  are  other  campos,  increasing 
in  number  and  size  until  we  reach  the  great  open  table-land 
of  Central  Brazil.  Besides,  there  are  the  meadows  of  the 
Amazonian  flood-plain,  and  more  extensive  ones  on  the  Ori- 
noco. It  is  not  strictly  correct,  therefore,  to  speak  of  the 
forest  as  "unbroken."     Only  to  the  westward  it  is  really  a 

THE    FOREST.  1 79 

continuous  mass  ;   a  circle  eleven  hundred  miles  in  diameter 
could  be  drawn  within  its  limits.* 

I  am  driven,  therefore,  to  this  conclusion.  The  forest 
depends  on  the  rains,  as  the  rivers  do.  Forest  and  rivers 
owe  their  existence  to  the  moist  trade-winds  blowing  freely 
over  this  great  plain,  and  meeting  cold  blasts  from  the  west. 
The  forest  protects  the  rivers  by  preventing  evaporation  ;  it 
increases  the  rains  by  preventing  radiation.  The  rivers  nurse 
the  forest,  drain  the  ground,  moisten  the  air.  They  are  all 
joined  together,  dependent  on  the  same  causes,  dependent 
on  each  other  :  the  most  abundant  rains  In  the  world,  the 
greatest  river,  the  largest  forest. 

The  great  cane-field  is  a  clean-cut  gap  in  solid  green.  All 
around  the  trees  rise  like  a  wall  ;  where  the  cutting  is  recent 
we  get  a  kind  of  section :  a  multitude  of  tall  columns,  so 
thickly  set  that  you  can  hardly  see  the  dark  spaces  within  ; 
and  at  the  top  a  green  roof,  twenty  feet,  perhaps,  out  of  the 
hundred.  In  six  months'  time  the  columns  will  be  covered 
up  with  branches  and  matted  vines,  a  splendid  mantle  ;  the 
clearing  would  be  filled  in  too,  smothered  in  second  growth, 
if  it  were  let  alone.  Warm  tropical  nature  has  no  love  for 
bare  ground  and  smooth  sward. 

Back  of  the  field  we  find  a  cart-path,  like  a  tunnel  ;  thick 
branches  meet  overhead,  and  almost  conceal  the  entrance. 
The  air  strikes  cool  in  our  faces  ;  coming  out  of  the  glare  we 
can  hardly  see  at  first,  so  dark  it  is.  Wait  a  moment,  with 
your  back  to  the  sunlight ;  there  are  thick-woven  branches 
in  our  way,  and  cord-like  vines  that  we  may  trip  against, 
and  spiny  palm-stems  ;  our  eyes  must  be  accustomed  to 
the    shade   before    we   can   avoid    them.      Now  go    on,   care- 

*  Wallace  :  Amazon  and  Rio  Negro. 

l8o  BRAZIL. 

fully  ;    turn   off  from  the  path  for  a  moment,  and  look  about 

You  are  aware  of  a  maze,  a  web,  what  you  will  that  is 
confusing  to  the  eye  and  mind.  There  are  tree-trunks,  that 
you  see  ;  and  a  multitude  of  vine-stems  ;  and  a  mist  of  scat- 
tered foliage,  obscuring  everything  without  concealing  it. 
Near  the  ground  there  are  not  many  leaves  ;  but  overhead 
the  boughs  are  woven  thick  together  like  a  mat ;  you  can 
see  the  blue  sky  only  in  little  patches  ;  stray  beams  reach  the 
ground  sometimes,  but  all  around  there  is  only  the  solemn, 
diffuse  light.  The  eager  leaves  above  will  not  let  the  sun- 
shine pass  them  ;  they  crowd  into  every  vacant  space,  drink 
greedily  of  the  warm  flood,  push  and  strive  for  more  of  it. 
The  trees  do  not  get  it  all,  either ;  for  over  the  branches 
clamber  a  multitude  of  vines,  racing  with  the  twigs,  sending 
long  shoots  into  the  clear  upper  air.  It  is  a  rampant  life  up 
there  on  the  forest  roof. 

I  wonder  if  the  height  of  the  forest  is  owing  to  this  ;  if  the 
straining  to  be  topmost  has  resulted,  after  awhile,  in  a  gen- 
eral modification  of  the  forest  species.  I  can  suppose  that 
they  were  herbs  once,  then  shrubs,  then  lesser  trees,  before 
they  were  giants.  Some  of  them  grew  sturdy  and  upright ; 
some  that  could  not  be  trees  had  to  get  their  light  by  climb- 
ing over  the  others.  ''It  is  interesting,"  says  Mr.  Bates,  "to 
find  that  these  climbing  trees  do  not  form  any  particular  family. 
There  is  no  distinct  group  of  plants  whose  especial  habit  is  to 
climb,  but  species  of  many  and  the  most  diverse  families,  the 
bulk  of  which  are  not  climbers,  seem  to  have  been  driven  by 
circumstances  to  adopt  this  habit.  There  is  even  a  climbing 
genus  of  palms."  Whether  the  theory  be  correct  or  not,  it  is 
certain  that  there  are  comparatively  few  small  plants  in  the  for- 
est, and  the  most  of  these  are  parasites  among  the  branches. 

THE   FOREST.  l8l 

At  first  you  do  not  notice  this,  or  any  other  single  fact ; 
there  is  only  that  vague  sense  of  bewilderment,  and  yet  of 
beauty  and  fitness  in  it  all.  It  is  only  after  you  have  spent 
days  and  weeks  here  that  you  can  reason  on  what  you  see  ; 
when  the  forest  is  as  familiar  as  home-fields  ;  when  the  trees 
and  vines  are  tried  friends.  But  suppose  we  have  this  familiar- 
ity, there  are  a  hundred  interesting  things  to  note  every  day. 

It  is  very  different  from  a  northern  wood,  and  yet  unlike 
the  pictures  that  we  have  drawn,  building  up  an  ideal  from 
green-houses  and  descriptions.  Our  conservatories  are  un- 
natural, because  they  bring  together  a  great  number  of  trop- 
ical plants  from  fifty  different  regions.  All  these  species  are 
remarkable  for  their  large  leaves,  or  singular  forms,  or  bril- 
liant flowers ;  and  they  give  a  very  strained  idea  of  tropical 
nature  ;  a  most  degrading  idea,  to  my  mind ;  you  can  spoil 
even  plant-combinations  by  an  excess  of  ornament. 

There  is  massing  of  foliage  and  bloom  in  the  tropics ;  we 
have  seen  this  on  the  lowland  channels  and  about  swamps ; 
but  even  there  the  splendor  is  all  outside.  Within  a  forest, 
and  especially  in  the  highland  woods,  there  is  no  massing  at 
all ;  tree-trunks  and  branches,  and  vine-stems,  form  the  main 
part  of  the  picture  ;  leaves  are  only  a  spray  thrown  over 
them.  The  tropical  foliage,  such  as  we  imagine  it,  is  not  at 
all  prominent.  There  are  palms,  not  very  conspicuous,  for 
the  dwarf  kinds  commonly  show  but  five  or  six  leaves,  and 
the  tall  ones  have  their  tops  in  the  maze  above ;  only  in 
some  places  you  will  find  the  handsome  stemless  Attaleas 
growing  abundantly.  Broad-leaved  plants  are  not  common 
here ;  a  few  grow  over  the  ground,  and  now  and  then  we  see 
calla-like  philodendrons  on  the  tree-trunks ;  but  for  the  most 
part  such  species  are  confined  to  swamps  and  brooksides. 
In  the  thick  forest  one  hardly  ever  finds  a  bright  flower ;  cer- 

1 82  BRAZIL. 

tain  trees  are  splendid  in  their  season  with  yellow,  or  purple, 
or  white,  but  you  see  nothing  of  this  from  below.  Strong 
colors  always  seek  the  sunshine. 

But  the  forest  is  intensely  tropical  for  all  that.  The  great 
columns  are  draped  and  wreathed  with  vines ;  the  branches 
are  all  bound  together  with  them  ;  the  thick  roof  is  a  laby- 
rinth of  vine-stems  and  leaves.  Not  merely  the  puny  ones 
that  we  know  in  the  north  ;  giants,  with  woody  stems  like 
the  trunks  themselves  for  bigness,  clambering  up  one  tall 
tree,  rolling  over  half  a  dozen  other  ones,  hanging  in  fes- 
toons from  the  boughs  fifty  yards  away.  You  see  them 
twisted  in  every  conceivable  shape,  looped  and  knotted, 
curving  from  tree  to  tree ;  one  can  sit  in  these  wooden 
hammocks  and  they  will  hardly  sway.  There  are  species 
with  smooth  stems  and  rough  ones,  and  spiny  ;  round, 
square,  triangular,  flat,  gathered  into  bundles  ;  and  the 
strange,  zigzag  BaiiJieiiias  are  like  a  staircase  with  raised 
edges.  What  the  foliage  is  you  may  conjecture  ;  it  is  so 
mingled  with  that  of  the  hosts  that  you  cannot  tell  one  from 
the  other  as  you  stand  on  the  ground  ;  or  there  may  be  a 
dozen  different  vines  clambering  over  one  tree,  branches  and 
leaves  and  tendrils  forming  such  a  tangle  that  you  despair 
of  unravelling  them.  Among  all  these  are  the  hundreds  of 
cord-like  air-roots,  dark  lines  fifty  or  sixty  feet  straight  up 
and  down.  Many  of  these  are  so  small  that  you  hardly  no- 
tice them  in  the  shadows ;  but  they  will  bear  a  w^eight  of  fifty 
pounds.  They  come  from  parasites  among  the  branches ; 
after  they  have  taken  root  they  often  grow  into  thick  stems, 
about  which  half  a  dozen  smaller  ones  may  be  twined.  The 
Apuhy*  begins   in  this  way,  as  a  parasite,  where  the  main 

*  Ficus,  sp.  var. 

THE   FOREST.  1 83 

branches  of  a  tree  spread  off  from  the  trunk  ;  it  sends  down 
air-roots  on  all  sides,  to  grow  and  strengthen  until  they  are 
trees  themselves  ;  they  clasp  their  giant  host,  and  choke  it  to 
death  ;  and  the  Judas-tree  stands  at  length  a  giant  in  its 

Of  course,  with  all  this  tangle  the  forest  is  far  thicker 
than  our  northern  woods.  It  is  much  higher,  too,  than  any 
except  our  pines  ;  fully  a  hundred  feet  in  many  places,  and 
some  of  the  great  Eriodendrons  and  LecytJies  rise  to  two 
hundred  feet  or  more.  For  the  rest,  the  trees  resemble 
northern  species  ;  only  many  of  them  have  great  buttresses 
around  the  roots,  and  a  few  are  spiny.  The  astonishing 
feature  is  their  variety.  In  a  northern  forest  you  find  great 
tracts  occupied  by  pines,  or  maples,  or  beeches  ;  or  at  most 
there  are  four  or  five  species  grouped  together.  Here,  on 
an  acre,  you  will  hardly  find  half  a  dozen  trees  that  are 
alike  ;  through  a  day's  walk  you  may  see  two  or  three  hun- 
dred. In  a  few  places  only  you  may  find  great  numbers  of 
taiiaris^  or  castanheiros,  or  saboneteiros ;  but  never  to  the 
exclusion  of  other  kinds. 

How  are  the  trees  nourished  ?  The  ground  is  sandy,  as 
it  is  almost  everywhere  along  the  Amazons,  and  not  very 
rich ;  it  is  nearly  bare  above,  for  mould  does  not  form  in  the 
tropics,  except  about  swampy  places.  At  the  north  the 
leaves  fall  together,  and  rot  under  the  snow  ;  but  here  they 
drop  one  by  one  all  through  the  year;  dry  up,  and  are  bro- 
ken to  dust,  and  so  pass  away  in  the  air.  Fallen  logs  and 
branches  are  eaten  by  insects  ;  there  is  nothing  left  to  form 
a  rich  soil  of.  In  fact,  it  is  a  mistake  to  suppose  that  all 
this  rampant  growth  depends  on  any  inherent  fertility  of  the 
ground.  The  sun  and  the  moist  air  make  up  for  barren  soil ; 
besides  the  rains  there  are  the  heavy  dews,  and  the  winds  are 

1 84  BRAZIL. 

always  soaked.  The  sand  has  no  richness  of  its  own,  but 
it  aids  in  the  work  by  carrying  rain  to  the  thirsty  roots  ; 
water  does  not  collect  on  the  surface  ;  it  sinks  at  once,  and 
is  evenly  distributed  to  a  great  depth  ;  and  in  this  climate 
the  ground  has  no  chance  to  dry  up. 

Many  plants  get  their  nourishment  from  the  air.  Not 
only  the  delicate  orchids ;  there  are  scores  of  other  epi- 
phytes ;  some  of  the  vines,  and  trees  even,  depend  more  on 
the  air  than  on  the  earth.  Here  is  a  taper ebd*  tree  lying 
across  the  road  ;  it  was  cut,  maybe,  six  months  ago,  but  it 
is  as  green  as  ever,  and  has  thrown  off  a  dozen  new  branches. 
So  it  is  on  the  plantations  ;  you  can  get  good  crops  from 
poor  soil.  I  have  seen  a  healthy-looking  tobacco-plant 
growino;  out  of  a  chink  in  a  stone  wall. 

The  path  leads  into  the  woods,  a  mile  or  more  ;  young- 
May  comes  here  sometimes  to  get  out  timber.  Beyond  that, 
the  hunters  have  penetrated  a  little  way  ;  for  a  mile  or  two 
more  you  will  find  old  trails,  all  grown  up,  and  only  marked 
by  the  cut  ends  of  branches  and  vines  ;  and  then  the  forest, 
untouched,  omnipresent. 

If  you  would  know  the  mighty  power  of  this  desert,  go 
deep  into  it.  Note  the  direction  by  your  compass  if  you 
have  one  ;  note  where  the  sun  lies  ;  you  cannot  see  it,  but 
you  may  catch  sight  of  the  topmost  boughs,  lighted  only  on 
one  side.  Keep  a  straight  line  as  nearly  as  you  can ;  an  ab- 
solutely straight  one  is  impossible  ;  you  must  pass  by  great 
tree-trunks  ;  you  must  make  detours  where  the  thickets  are 
too  dense  for  your  wood-knife.  Go  on  an  hour,  a  day,  until 
the  forest  is  familiar,  until  you  learn  to  recognize  its  thou- 
sand  forms.      Go   until  you    are    hungry,   and    thirsty,   and 

*  Spondias  lutea  ? 

THE   FOREST.  1 85 

weary  with  the  long  fight ;  until  you  know  that  you  are 
insignificant  because  you  feel  it. 

You  do  feel  it ;  more,  even,  than  on  the  ocean.  For  at 
sea  there  is  always  the  same  horizon,  a  definite  boundary  to 
vision;  and  in  its  very  attempts  to  reach  beyond  it  the  im- 
agination forms  an  ideal  ocean,  a  limited  immensity.  The 
ship  carries  you  on  without  any  exertion  of  your  own  ;  you 
know  that  you  are  moving,  as  you  know  that  the  earth 
moves  ;  but  day  by  day  there  is  the  same  sea  and  sky  to 
give  the  lie  to  your  reasoning.  Alone  in  the  forest,  your  in- 
significance is  forced  upon  you.  You  keep  your  straight 
track,  hour  after  hour  ;  and  it  is  no  easy  journey.  You  must 
do  battle  for  your  right  of  way,  cutting  a  narrow  passage 
through  hedge-like  thickets,  and  mats  of  woody  vines,  and 
interlaced  branches.  Now,  after  a  day  of  hard  fighting,  you 
lay  yourself  at  the  foot  of  some  giant  tree,  and  look  up,  up 
to  where  the  boughs  are  all  mingled  together,  and  single 
leaves  are  indistinguishable  ;  where  the  fragments  of  blue 
sky  seem  hardly  more  distant  than  the  tree-tops,  as  if  you 
saw  them  through  an  inverted  telescope.  And  then  you 
gaze  off  through  the  vague  net-work  of  leaves  and  tree- 
trunks  and  rope-like  air-roots  and  twisted  vines,  until  the 
vision  is  lost,  you  know  not  where,  only  you  feel  in  your  in- 
most soul  that  there  is  a  mysterious,  an  unfethomable  depth 
beyond ;  tired  and  worn  as  you  are,  you  know  that  you  have 
only  passed  the  borders  of  this  infinity,  where  you  could  go 
on  for  weeks,  months,  and  never  reach  the  end  ;  you  com- 
pare your  own  littleness  with  the  littleness  of  a  single  tree 
which,  standing  alone,  would  be  a  beacon  for  miles  around  ; 
and  you  bow  your  head  with  fear  and  trembling. 

Think,  now.  You  are  separated  from  the  world,  more 
than  you   would   be   in   the   deserts    of  Africa   or  Australia. 

1 86 


You  are  alone,  utterly ;  an  army  of  men  could  not  find  you  ; 
your  dearest  friend,  your  most  hated  foe  could  not  track 
you  ;  the  vultures  would  not  reach  your  body  if  you  died 
here.  You  could  not  find  your  own  way  out,  but  by  the 
path  you  came  over,  or  the  noted  direction. 

Very  few  men  will  care  to  go  far  into  the  forest  without 
companions.  There  is  always  a  possible  jaguar  to  fear  ;  and 
then  one  may  get  lost;  I  have  been,  once  or  twice;  only 
for  a  few  hours,  but  the  sensation  was  not  an  enviable  one. 

In  the  Forest. 

Some  years  ago  a  boy  wandered  off  in  these  woods  and 
was  never  heard  of  again  ;  the  whole  colony  turned  out  and 
hunted  for  three  days.  The  boy  may  have  been  killed  by 
wild  animals  ;  he  may  have  died  of  hunger  or  thirst.  Who 
can  '^ay  ?  There  are  such  terrible  possibilities  in  the  word 

But  we  would  go  deeper  into  the  mystery.    We  plan  an 
excursion  with  the  young  Americans  ;  half  a  dozen  are  will- 

THE    FOREST,  1 8/ 

ing  to  go  for  the  hunting,  or  the  fun,  or  the  mere  pleasure 
of  going  where  nobody  else  has  been.  We  engage  two  In- 
dians to  accompany  us  ;  each  man  carries  a  hammock  and 
blanket,  a  sack  of  mandioca-meal,  his  wood-knife,  and  a  gun 
if  he  has  one  ;  a  calabash  jug  of  water,  also,  for  we  can- 
not expect  to  find  any,  during  the  first  day  at  least.  Thus 
heavily  laden,  we  leave  the  house  at  sunrise  and  file  off 
through  the  cane-field,  where  the  dew  rattles  off  and  soaks 
us  all  thoroughly.  Once  in  the  deep  woods  we  seek  for  a 
surveying-line  which  was  cut,  seven  or  eight  years  ago,  by 
some  enterprising  engineer.  We  find  it  with  difficulty,  and 
follow  it  by  the  old  cuts  ;  it  leads  directly  south,  no  one  in 
the  party  knows  how  far  ;  but  the  end  of  the  line  w^ill  mark 
the  farthest  limit  to  which  any  white  man  has  attained.  Of 
course,  we  resolve  to  outdo  the  engineer,  and  gather  his 
glory  to  ourselves. 

We  march  slowly  ;  our  water-jugs  are  clumsy  and  bur- 
densome, and  the  undergrowth  is  very  thick.  Our  Indians 
march  ahead,  hewing  right  and  left  with  their  wood-knives, 
a  vine  here  and  a  branch  there  ;  we  follow  in  single  file, 
dodging  about  tree-trunks,  clambering  over  logs,  tripping 
now  and  then  against  the  vine-stems,  going  deeper  and 
deeper  into  the  solitude.  Once  or  twice  a  cotia  crosses 
the  path,  or  a  deer  ;  for  the  rest  there  is  not  a  sign  of  life ; 
in  the  thick  woods  you  do  not  often  notice  a  bird,  except  in 
the  early  morning. 

The  brown  guides  are  almost  as  ignorant  of  the  ground 
as  we  are.  None  of  the  Panema  Indians  have  ever  ventured 
far  into  the  forest.  They  wander  three  or  four  miles  back 
from  the  bluff,  hunting,  or  looking  for  />igum-f ru'its*  in  their 

*  Caryocar  butyrosum  ? 

1 88  BRAZIL. 

season.  This  piquia  is  a  favorite  dish.  The  fruit  is  con- 
tained in  a  thick  shell ;  it  is  separated  from  this,  and  boiled, 
and  the  thin  oily  pulp  is  scraped  off  from  the  hard  nut  within, 
as  we  eat  green  corn.  "Not  much  more  palatable  than  a 
raw  potato,''  Mr.  Bates  thought ;  but  most  people  like  them 
well,  and  they  are  very  nourishing.  Often  we  have  seen 
them  on  the  tables  of  our  colonists,  a  steaming-hot  panful, 
deliciously  fragrant.  A  sweet  oil  is  extracted  from  the  fruit ; 
and  they  make  ink  of  the  outer  shells,  rich  in  gallic  acid. 
The  Indians  are  very  fond  of  piquias  ;  as  we  march,  our  men 
are  taking  mental  note  of  the  trees  that  we  pass.  Forest 
monarchs,  these  are  ;  the  branches,  contrary  to  the  rule  of 
forest-trees,  are  spreading  and  rough,  like  an  oak,  but  vastly 
larger  than  any  oak  I  ever  saw. 

Of  other  forest-fruits  there  are  not  many ;  a  Brazil-nut 
tree  now  and  then,  or  a  janitd,  with  little  sour  yellow  ber- 
ries. The  Indians  are  quick  to  see  these  forest  treasures. 
Both  of  them  are  clever  woodsmen  :  will  tell  you  the  name 
of  almost  any  tree,  and  its  uses  ;  whether  the  timber  be  good 
or  bad  ;  what  will  last  as  uprights  in  the  ground,  and  what 
can  be  used  for  beams  and  rafters.  When  they  are  in  doubt 
of  a  wood,  they  hack  the  bark  a  little,  and  smell  of  it,  or 
taste  it ;  almost  an  unfailing  test. 

The  man  Theodoro  is  a  young  fellow,  brawny-armed,  and 
good-natured,  as  strong  men  are  apt  to  be.  The  other, 
Joao,  is  older  ;  a  little,  silent,  wrinkled  figure,  but  with  the 
more  endurance  of  the  two,  I  fancy.  He  has  brought  his 
little  boy  with  him  ;  nine-year-old  Graciliano  must  be  tak- 
ing his  first  lesson  in  woodcraft.  The  little  fellow  marches 
along,  barefooted,  with  a  water-jug  on  his  head  ;  noticing 
everything,  but  quite  silent.  He  has  a  shirt  and  trousers 
in  the  civilized  fashion  ;  but  we  never  see  him  with  the  two 

THE    FOREST.  I  89 

on  together ;  one  or  the  other  garment  is  always  wound 
about  the  water-jug,  with  picturesque  effect. 

By  and  by  a  shower  comes  up  ;  we  stop  under  a  great 
tree  and  improve  the  time  to  eat  our  breakfast.  One  could 
camp  very  comfortably  between  these  roots  ;  sapopemas  the 
Indians  call  them,  great  flat  buttresses  spreading  out  on 
every  side  for  two  or  three  yards,  and  rising  against  the 
trunk  to  double  that  height.  I  do  not  know  what  species 
this  is  ;  a  samatima*  very  likely,  but  many  of  the  forest- 
trees  have  buttresses,  small  or  large  ;  supports  to  keep  the 
tree  from  falling  over.  Sometimes  the  Indians  cut  out  por- 
tions of  a  sapopema  and  use  them  for  thick  planks  ;  in  the 
forest  a  hut  is  often  built  against  one  of  these  trees,  with  the 
buttressed  roots  for  sides. 

As  we  proceed  the  hunters  are  looking  out  for  our  din- 
ner ;  not  very  successfully,  for  the  whole  afternoon  brings  us 
only  a  single  partridge-like  bird.  We  trudge  on,  wearily 
enough  by  this  time,  and  soaked  with  the  wet  leaves,  always 
through  the  same  tangle  of  vines  and  undergrowth.  At 
four  o'clock  we  halt  for  the  night ;  our  hunters  go  out  to 
try  for  better  luck,  and  the  rest  of  us  build  a  fire  and  swing 
the  hammocks  to  friendly  saplings  ;  palm-leaves  for  thatch 
there  are  none  ;  we  form  a  rough  shelter  of  boughs  and  trust 
that  it  will  not  rain. 

Graciliano  pulls  my  sleeve  gently,  ^^  Olhe I  MacaqiiinJio ! '' 
he  whispers  (Look  there  !  a  little  monkey !) ;  and  sure  enough 
we  see  not  one  merely,  but  half  a  dozen  peering  down 
through  the  branches  a  hundred  yards  away.  Some  one 
runs  after  them,  while  our  brown  imp  fairly  dances  with  ex- 
citement.    A  successful  shot  brings  down  one  :  poor  thing, 

*  Eriodendron  samauma. 

190  BRAZIL. 

it  is  a  sad  penalty  for  its  curiosity.  The  others  scamper  off 
through  the  tree-tops,  with  flying  leaps  of  twenty  feet  or 
more.  Presently  the  explorers  return  with  one  more  mon- 
key ;  some  one  objects  faintly  that  these  are  not  game,  but 
hunger  outweighs  all  other  considerations.  The  monkeys 
go  over  the  fire  with  the  skin  on,  after  the  Indian  fashion, 
and  are  not  bad  eating  when  one  is  hungry.  It  is  well  to 
note  that  these,  and  other  forest  animals,  should  be  cleaned 
as  soon  as  they  are  killed  ;  otherwise  the  flesh  may  savor  too 
rankly  of  the  woods. 

One  objection  we  find  to  our  bits  of  broiled  monkey ; 
there  are  not  enough  of  them.  However,  we  manage  to  eke 
out  the  repast  with  mandioca-meal  ;  then  we  turn  into  our 
hammocks  and  light  fragrant  cigarettes.  There  are  no  mos- 
quitoes here  ;  the  air  is  pure  and  cool ;  one  could  fare  worse 
we  think.  Little  Graciliano  has  no  hammock ;  his  father 
makes  him  a  bed,  or  stage  of  sticks,  like  a  bench,  and  the 
child  lies  down  about  as  comfortably,  you  think,  as  one 
could  on  a  pile  of  door-knobs.  He  goes  to  sleep  immedi- 
ately, having  donned  both  shirt  and  trousers  by  way  of 
covering.  We,  in  the  hammocks,  will  shiver  before  morning, 
with  our  blankets  wrapped  tightly  around  us. 

Branches  overhead  are  just  gilded  with  the  last  glow  :  fine- 
cut,  misty  leaves  of  myrtles  and  acacias.  Humboldt,  I  think, 
was  the  first  to  notice  the  peculiar  effect  of  these  pinnate 
leaves,  a  striking  feature  of  the  tropical  forests.  Of  these  and 
other  trees  there  are  a  score  of  kinds  about  our  encampment ; 
a  splendid  grove  if  it  were  anywhere  else.  This  one,  to 
which  my  hammock  is  tied,  is  2.  jetahy,"^  strong  durable  tim- 
ber, but  too  hard  for  most  purposes.     The  oval,  brown  fruits 

*  Sometimes yV/i'a/^v  ■■   Hymenoeoe,  sp.  var. 


are  scattered  on  the  ground  ;  hard  shells,  with  a  sweet,  yellow 
meal  enclosing  the  seeds.  A  gum-like  copal  exudes  from 
the  trunk ;  the  Indians  use  this  jetaJiyseca  for  varnishing 
their  clay  pots  and  crockery,  and  to  burn  the  pottery  a  hot 
fire  is  made  of  jetahy  bark.  This  smaller  tree  is  an  acauba* 
wild  cacao,  and  possible  parent  of  the  cultivated  kind  ;  the 
others  are  loicros,'^  piranhaicbas^  cotitertibds,  and  so  on 
through  a  score  of  useful  and  useless  kinds  with  sonorous 
names.  For  the  rest,  I  know  nothing  of  the  scientific  names, 
or  whether  they  are  named  at  all  ;  the  botanists  will  be  find- 
ing new  ones  for  a  hundred  years. 

Night  draws  on  apace  ;  the  fire-light  dances  over  tree- 
trunks  and  branches.  It  is  very  quiet  here  in  the  deep 
woods.  Out  on  the  open  lands,  and  near  the  villages,  there 
is  the  ringing  concert  of  insect-life,  and  the  weeping  night- 
birds  ;  around  the  varzea  lakes  there  are  croaking  frogs  and 
chirping  crickets,  and  fish  leaping  about  in  the  shallows.  But 
we  hear  nothing  of  this  about  our  camp  ;  there  is  no  sign  of 
life,  except  the  weird  moths  flitting  about  our  fire,  and  once 
or  twice  the  rustle  of  some  animal  in  the  thickets  ;  a  deer, 
maybe,  that  has  come  to  the  light.  We  lie  awake  for  a  long 
time,  as  one  will  at  a  first  camp,  watching  the  falling  embers 
and  musing  vaguely.  What  a  tiny  spot  our  camp  is  in  the 
great  woods  ! 

In  the  morning  there  is  the  same  silence  ;  no  hubbub  and 
flutter  of  birds  to  welcome  the  sun.  Once  or  twice  only,  a 
pair  of  macaws  go  flying  over  our  heads,  startling  us  with  a 
great  scream  as  if  they  were  close  to  our  ears.  So  it  is 
through  the  day  ;  the  few  sounds  are  so  abrupt  and  strange 
that  they  only  make  the  after-silence  more  impressive.      If 

*  Theobroma,  sp.  t  Cryptocarpa,  sp. 

192  BRAZIL. 

you  step  on  a  twig  the  alarm-bird  sounds  his  three  or  four 
shrill  notes,  each  one  in  a  lower  key  than  the  last ;  now  and 
then  an  inambil*  partridge  wails  in  the  thickets,  and  some- 
times we  hear  that  long,  mournful  whistle  of  the  lost  soul-bird, 
as  of  one  crying  from  the  abyss.  Rarely  you  see  a  bird  pass- 
ing under  the  boughs,  and  where  the  shade  is  darkest,  silent- 
winged  brown  butterflies  flit  along  the  ground.  But  in  the 
gloom  these  things  hardly  seem  alive;  they  are  ghostly  forms, 
without  breath,  a  part  of  the  silence. 

The  day's  march  is  a  very  tiresome  one  ;  we  are  continu- 
ally getting  off  the  survey  line  and  only  finding  it  again  after 
long  delays.  Our  calabashes  are  nearly  empty  ;  they  are 
most  awkward  things  to  carry,  for  we  can  only  hold  them  by 
hooking  two  fingers  into  the  hole  that  serves  as  a  mouth. 
Two  or  three  have  been  upset  and  the  water  spilled.  Joao, 
who  has  been  thus  far,  declares  that  there  is  a  pool  ahead, 
but  we  find  only  a  dry  bed  of  mud  with  tapir-tracks  all  over 
it.  Such  pools  are  met  with  at  long  intervals,  but  most  of 
them  dry  up  at  the  end  of  the  rainy  season. 

By  two  o'clock  we  reach  the  end  of  the  survey  line,  where 
great  letters  are  carved  on  two  large  trees.  Here  we  call  a 
council  of  war.  We  have  been  on  short  allowance  of  water 
all  day  and  there  is  hardly  a  quart  left ;  it  will  take  us,  at 
least,  ten  hours  to  return,  for  even  when  a  path  has  been  cut, 
it  is  difficult  to  make  more  than  two  miles  an  hour  through 
the  undergrowth.  However,  we  resolve  to  camp  here ;  two 
of  the  men  volunteer  to  explore  for  water  with  Joao ;  and  the 
rest  of  the  party  are  tired  enough  to  lounge  in  their  ham- 
mocks. We  are  swarming  with  little  black  ticks,  and  dirty 
and  perspiring  as  only  a   forest  march  can  make  us.      How 

*  Crypturus,  sp. 

THE   FOREST.  1 93 

we  long  for  the  evening  bath  at  Panema  !  But,  being  philo- 
sophical, we  content  ourselves  with  a  dry  rub. 

Theodoro  returns  from  a  hunting  tour  and  declares  that  he 
has  shot  at  a  tapir ;  an  encouraging  sign,  for  these  animals  are 
never  seen  far  from  a  watercourse  or  pool.  Toward  night  our 
exploring  party  come  in ;  they  report  a  dry  watercourse  below, 
with  signs  of  water;  so  we  resolve  to  push  on  in  the  morning. 

We  have  breakfasted  on  mandioca-meal,  and  for  dinner 
our  hunters  have  brought  only  a  monkey  and  two  birds  ; 
small  show  for  eight  hungry  stomachs.  One  of  the  birds  is  a 
rmitiini,  as  large  as  a  hen ;  the  other  is  a  splendid  hyacinthine 
macaw,  rare  treasure  for  ornithologists,  but  the  Indians  have 
pulled  out  every  tail-feather,  to  our  great  disgust.  The  bird, 
being  an  old  one,  is  about  as  palatable  as  leather,  but  what 
flesh  it  has  we  dispose  of,  and  wash  down  our  scanty  meal 
with  the  last  drops  of  water.  The  mosquitoes  are  thick 
enough  at  this  place. 

Toward  morning  a  light  rain  comes  on;  we  toss  and  soak 
until  daylight,  a  sorry  crowd.  Not  a  drop  of  water  to  drink, 
much  less  to  w^ash  in,  and  only  a  handful  of  mandioca-meal 
to  whet  our  ravenous  appetites.  Of  course  we  are  thirsty ; 
grow  more  so  as  we  march,  until  our  throats  are  parched  and 
we  can  hardly  speak.  By  and  by  Joao  finds  some  water- 
vines  ;  each  man  cuts  a  yard  of  the  stem  in  haste  and  holds 
it  upside  down  over  his  open  mouth.  A  few  spoonfuls  only  he 
gets,  and  that  is  rather  bitter;  but  our  regret  is  that  there  are 
so  few  of  the  vines.  There  are  other  kinds  that  are  full  of  a  run- 
ning stream  ;  you  must  cut  your  yard  of  water  above,  and  then 
below,  for  if  you  cut  first  below,  the  stream  will  run  beyond 
your  reach  before  you  can  hack  the  vine  through  again.* 

*  Water  is  obtained   also  Irom   the    overground-roots   of  the  forest   imbauba^ 


194  BRAZIL. 

Down  a  long  slope  now,  until  we  reach  a  dry  flat  with 
palm-trees  and  matted  vines.  We  follow  this  to  the  south  ; 
there  are  marks  of  a  dry  watercourse,  and  the  trees  are  such 
as  grow  in  wet  places.  At  length,  to  our  great  joy,  we  find 
a  little  muddy  pool  ;  the  tapirs  must  have  been  wallowing 
here  overnight,  for  their  tracks  are  fresh  all  around  the  edge ; 
but  we  are  not  dainty ;  such  long  draughts  we  take,  and 
think  it  delicious,  too,  though  you  cannot  see  half  an  inch 
into  the  mixture.  We  fill  our  calabashes,  for  there  is  no 
telling  what  we  may  find  ahead  ;  bathe,  of  course,  and  then 
follow  on  down  the  valley.  Breakfast  is  out  of  the  question; 
we  have  enough  to  think  of  to  provide  for  our  dinner. 

The  flat  is  narrowed  now  to  a  valley,  not  more  than  a 
hundred  yards  across,  and  matted  with  vines  and  saplings, 
as  you  have  seen  wild  grape-vines  draped  over  a  tree.  We 
have  three  of  our  strongest  men  ahead,  cutting  a  path  ;  but 
it  takes  us  two  hours  to  pass  a  mile  of  this  hedge.  Once 
we  stumble  into  a  nest  of  stinging  taixi*^  ants,  like  red-hot 
needles.  After  this  mile  the  flat  widens  out  again,  and  is 
covered  with  noble  /'/<^//rt:.?;/-palms  t,  with  no  undergrowth  at 
all,  so  that  we  can  walk  freely  between  the  stems.  We  go 
on  in  this  way  six  or  eight  miles  more,  before  we  reach 
another  pool.  Near  this  we  go  into  camp  and  send  out  an 
exploring  party  as  before. 

But  alas  !  The  hunters  bring  not  even  a  bird.  We  sup 
disconsolately  on  mandioca-meal,  and  a  little  tea  which  some 
thoughtful  one  has  in  his  pack,  steeping  this  in  a  tin  cup 
and  drinking  it  without  sugar.  Then  we  hold  another  coun- 
cil. It  is  agreed  that  there  are  signs  of  game  in  abun- 
dance, but  we  have  lost  it  in  our  eagerness  for  exploration. 

*  These  ants  live  only  on  the  taixi  tree  ;  they  are  very  pugnacious. 
+  Attalea. 

THE   FOREST.  195 

The  majority  are  in  favor  of  exploring  the  flat,  which  prom- 
ises to  lead  to  a  stream,  and  so  perhaps  to  the  River  Curua  ;* 
but  we  yield  to  a  minority  who  plead  engagements  at  home. 
It  is  resolved  to  remain  here  for  one  day,  to  hunt  and  ex- 
plore as  far  to  the  south  as  we  can,  and  then  to  return,  in 
two  marches,  by  our  old  route.  It  is  raining  again  by  this 
time,  but  we  have  a  good  hut  ;  the  great  leaves  of  the 
uauasii  make  capital  thatch,  as  dry  as  shingles  ;  moreover, 
we  have  bathed,  and  if  the  mosquitoes  are  numerous  we 
have  not  the  added  torture  of  ticks  and  red  mites.  So  we 
go  to  sleep  and  forget  that  we  are  starving  on  a  thin  allow- 
ance of  mandioca. 

In  the  morning  we  discuss  the  last  of  this,  and  of  the  tea ; 
the  hunters  hurry  off,  and  two  or  three  of  us  start  to  explore 
the  flat.  We  find  one  pool  after  another  now,  and  at  length 
a  sluggish  stream  with  a  general  course  to  the  southeast.  It 
is  agreed  that  this  must  be  a  tributary  of  the  Curua,  but 
whether  our  conjecture  is  right  or  not  some  future  explorer 
must  say.  We  do  not  care  to  go  far;  there  are  shots  behind 
us,  and  one  of  our  own  party  has  shot  a  brace  of  great  coatd 
monkeys.  So  we  hurry  back  with  a  certainty  of  breakfast, 
and  presently  meet  another  party  who  are  lugging  a  red 
deer  into  camp,  with  a  third  monkey  and  two  land-tor- 
toises ;  whereat  we  shout  and  rub  our  stomachs  approvingly. 

Close  by  the  camp  we  hear  C.  calling  us  loudly  ;  he  was 
coming  to  the  pool  for  water,  when  he  was  aware  of  a  great 
red  panther  standing  right  in  his  path.  C.  had  only  his 
wood-knife  ;  he  made  a  rush  at  the  beast  to  scare  it,  but  it 
would  not  be  scared ;  squatting  close  to  the  ground,  it  lashed 
its   sides  with   its   tail   and   eyed  C.   in  a  very  ugly  manner. 

*The  Curud  de  Santarem,  so  called  to  distinguish  it  from  the  Curua  d'Alen- 
quer,  which  flows  into  the  Amazons  from  the  north. 

196  BRAZIL. 

Our  friend  was  about  to  retreat  when  he  heard  our  party 
coming  up.  The  panther  heard  us  too,  and  apparently 
found  himself  outmatched,  for  he  turned  tail  ignobly  and 
ran  off  into  the  forest.  One  or  two  of  the  men  gave  chase, 
without  success  ;   and  C.  was  the  hero  of  the  hour. 

P.  has  had  his  adventure  also.  He  was  watching  at  the 
pool  with  his  gun  for  an  hour  or  two,  and  then  fell  fast 
asleep,  sitting  on  a  log  ;  presently,  opening  his  eyes,  he  saw 
a  deer  standing  about  ten  feet  away  from  him,  and  staring  in 
evident  surprise.  The  deer  made  off  when  P.  moved,  but  a 
shoulder  shot  brought  him  down  neatly,  and  before  we  re- 
turn P.  has  a  side  over  the  fire.  We  make  high  feast  for 
the  rest  of  the  day  ;  vote  that  forest-life  is  delightful,  and 
have  half  a  mind  to  push  on  after  all.  C.'s  rencontre  with 
the  panther  brings  up  a  host  of  anecdotes  about  the  various 
species.  These  red  ones  {^Felis  concolor),  the  same  that  is 
found  in  North  America,  are  much  smaller  and  less  feared 
than  the  jaguar  {F.  onqd)  and  black  tiger.  Of  these  there 
are  a  dozen  bloody  stories ;  one  man  tells  how  a  boat-builder 
on  the  Tapajos  was  attacked  from  behind  as  he  stood  over 
his  work  ;  a  blow  from  the  great  paw  laid  him  senseless,  and 
he  never  spoke  thereafter.  Another  story,  better  authenti- 
cated, is  of  a  Panema  Indian,  who  was  killed  only  two  years 
ago  ;  he  went  to  hunt  in  the  woods,  and  never  returned  ;  a 
search  revealed  his  body,  mangled  fearfully,  and  with  his 
empty  gun  lying  near.  It  is  conjectured  that  he  shot  at  a 
jaguar  and  perhaps  wounded  it,  but  was  killed  in  the  subse- 
quent struggle.  Several  of  the  young  men  have  killed  red 
panthers  like  this  one  that  C.  met ;  the  general  verdict  is, 
that  they  are  cowardly  unless  badly  hurt. 

Hunters  speak  of  at  least  eight  species  oi  Felidce  in  these 
parts.     The  smallest  is  a  gray  wild-cat  {gato  do  inato),  prob- 

THE   FOREST.  1 97 

ably  the  F.  jaguarondi,  or  an  allied  species.  Next  there  is 
a  small  spotted  species,  which  may  be  F.  Worwickii ;  then 
a  larger  ocelot,  or  perhaps  two  or  three — what  species  it  is 
impossible  to  say  in  the  confusion.  All  these  small  spotted 
kinds  are  called  viaracajds ;  they  are  only  troublesome  by 
robbing  poultry-houses,  as  foxes  do  at  home.  The  red  F. 
concolor  is  common  everywhere  ;  by  all  accounts  it  extends 
from  Canada  to  Patagonia,  but  there  are  varieties  which  are 
distinguished  by  the  Indians,  and  have  sometimes  been  de- 
scribed as  distinct.  The  common  name  on  the  Amazons  is 
oiiqa  vcnnclha,  or,  in  the  lingua  geral,  suaai-rana,  false 
deer,  because  it  looks  like  a  deer  in  the  forest.  Of  the  larger 
kinds  there  are  three,  well  defined.  F.  on<^a,  the  jaguar,  be- 
longs properly  in  the  lowlands,  though  it  is  frequently  seen 
about  the  edges  of  the  terra  firme.  This  is  the  on^a  par 
excellence ;  but  the  Indians  have  their  special  name,  jaua- 
retc  pacova-sororoca — onca  of  the  wild  plantains  (a  common 
plant  of  the  river  banks).  The  other  spotted  kind  is  never 
seen  on  the  lowlands,  and  it  is  quite  different  in  form  and 
habits  from  the  F.  onca.  Moreover,  it  is  readily  distin- 
guished by  its  markings  ;  the  on^a  has  rings  or  roses  of 
black  on  a  light  ground ;  this  one  has  small  black  spots, 
running  into  stripes  on  the  back,  but  never  gathered  into 
rings.  I  believe  there  can  be  no  doubt  that  the  two  are  dis- 
tinct, and  that  the  highland  species  is  undescribed  ;  it  does 
indeed  approach  the  F.  Hernandizi,  Gray,*  from  Mazatlan. 
Variety  or  species,  our  highland  onga  is  not  connected 
with  its  cousin  by  any  gradation  ;  and  the  Indians  always 
distinguish   it  as  the  nriaudra,  or  dog  on^a  (pnqa  cachorrd). 

*  Figured  in  the  Proceedings  of  the  Zoological  Society  of  London,  with  a  hand- 
some colored  plate ;  but  the  markings  are  much  like  those  of  F.  on(a,  and  it  has 
since  been  regarded  as  a  variety  of  that  species. 

198  BRAZIL. 

For  my  part  1  would  trust  an  Indian,  in  such  a  question, 
quite  as  readily  as  an  anatomist.  The  black  tiger,  largest 
and  fiercest  of  all,  has  been  regarded  as  a  melanic  variety 
of  the  jaguar,  but  the  Indians  laugh  at  that  idea.  The  black 
species,  they  say,  belongs  only  on  the  terra  firme,  like  the 
uriauara ;  the  black  mother  always  has  black  cubs;  the  ani- 
mal attains  a  larger  size,  and  is  feared  far  more  than  the 
most  terrible  jaguar.  Finally,  the  body  is  thicker  and  heav- 
ier in  proportion,  and  the  Indians  distinguish  the  cry  of  this 
species  from  that  of  any  other.  For  the  present,  I  prefer 
to  believe  that  they  are  right,  and  that  F.  nigra  is  a  valid 

We  see  no  more  onc^as,  though  their  tracks  are  fresh 
about  the  water.  Clearly,  the  abundance  of  game  here  is 
owing  to  the  pool,  where  forest  animals  must  come  to  drink  ; 
and  here  in  the  deep  forest,  they  have  never  been  hunted. 
We,  being  the  first  comers,  have  more  than  we  can  well  dis- 
pose of;  all  the  afternoon  the  men  are  smoke-drying  the 
meat  to  carry  home  ;  so  prepared,  it  will  keep  for  two  or 
three  days.  The  land-tortoises  must  go  alive  ;  in  the  mean- 
while they  are  hanging  to  branches  around,  each  one  tied 
with  a  thong  of  bark  about  its  shell. 

I  have  been  cleaning  the  skeleton  of  a  deer,  for  my  col- 
lection. The  Indians,  too,  are  enriching  themselves  ;  they 
have  found  a  tauari\  tree  near  by,  and  are  tearing  off  great 
strips  of  the  bark  and  making  it  into  cigarette-papers.  The 
hard  outer  portion  is  removed  from  the  strips ;  then  the  ends 
are  hammered  against  a  tree-trunk  until  the  fibres  turn  over 

*I  regret  that  my  specimens  were  lost.  I  have  no  desire  to  create  species,  but 
the  notes  I  give  have  been  carefully  gathered,  from  at  least  fifty  hunters,  and  com- 
pared with  my  own  observations  on  the  skins. 

t  Couratari  gujanensis,  or  some  allied  species. 



and  separate  into  thin  leaves,  like  brown  paper.  These  must 
be  boiled  to  extract  the  bitter  sap,  and  carefully  dried  ;  then 
they  are  cut  off  as  required.  Many  persons  prefer  this  tauari 
paper  to  any  other  for  smoking.  When  burning,  it  has  a 
distinctly  sweet  flavor  and  no  disagreeable  smoke. 

Altogether,  we  are  quite  loaded  down  when  we  leave 
camp  in  the  morning.  The  guides  have  woven  deep/^;/;/^^?/ 
baskets  of  palm-leaves ; 
they  are  strapped  like 
knapsacks  to  our  shoul- 
ders, and  further  sup- 
ported with  a  band 
around  the  forehead. 
So  we  trudge  home 
wearily  ;  taking  nearly 
two  days  with  the  march 
before  we  come  out  by 
the  great  Inaja  palm  at 
the  civilized  end  of  the 
forest-path.  I  suppose 
that  our  farthest  point 
was  less  than  thirty  miles 
from  the  bluff,  or  forty 
from  Santarem;  but  no 
one  has  been  so  far  be- 
fore ;  only  to  the  south- 
east twenty  or  thirty 
miles,  on  the  Rio  Curua,  there  is  a  colony  of  fugitive  slaves, 
and  white  traders   may  have  ascended  that  river. 

Young  May  is  building  a  shed,  or  a  mill-house,  or  what 
not;  he  explores  the  forest  every  day  for  timber.  There  are 
trees,  and  plenty  of  them,  close  about  the  house,  but  they  are 

Inaja  Palms. 

200  BRAZIL. 

not  those  that  he  wants;  he  must  have /^^'^  d'arco,^  jaca- 
randd,^  itauba^X  the  hard,  time-resisting  woods  that  are  proof 
against  rot  and  insects.  Building  his  shed  with  ordinary 
timber,  he  would  have  to  rebuild  it  in  a  year.  The  damp 
air  and  soil  will  rot  any  but  the  best  woods.  The  white 
ants  and  boring  beetles  would  riddle  other  beams  until  they 
fell  to  pieces  of  their  own  weight ;  for  the  uprights  especially, 
only  a  few  kinds  will  do,  and  these  are  scattered  far  and  wide. 
A  mile  back  from  the  clearing  he  may  find  the  tree  that  he 
wants ;  he  cuts  it  in  a  half-day's  hard  work,  for  the  wood 
is  like  iron  ;  cuts  it  again  under  the  branches,  and  then  drags 
the  log  out  painfully  with  his  ox-team.  After  that  he 
must  hew  it  into  the  shape  required,  for  the  single  saw-mill 
of  the  colony  is  too  far  away  to  be  of  use  to  him.  Alto- 
gether, his  shed  will  cost  him  at  least  five  times  as  much 
work  as  a  similar  one  would  in  a  pine  forest ;  to  be  sure,  it 
is  built  of  cabinet  woods,  and  the  unpainted  frame  will  last 
fifty  years. 

This  brings  us  to  an  important  question  :  the  value  of  the 
great  forest  as  a  timber-mart.  People  wonder — I  have  won- 
dered myself — why  the  world  has  neglected  it  so  long.  The 
priest  Acuna,  writing  in  1641,  grew  enthusiastic  over  his 
theme : 

"  The  trees  of  this  river,"  he  says,  '■'■  are  without  number  ;  so  high 
that  they  reach  to  the  clouds,  so  thick  that  it  causes  astonishment ;  a 
cedro  that  I  measured  myself  was  thirty  pahns  in  circuit.  The  most  of 
them  are  good  timbers,  so  you  could  desire  no  better;  for  there  are 
cedros,  ceibas,  pale  wood,  dark  wood,  and  many  others,  recognized  in. 
these  regions  to  be  the  best  in  the  world  for  ships,  which  could  be  made 
here  better  and  at  less  cost  than  anywhere  else,  finished  and  launched, 
without  sending  to  Europe  for  anything  except  iron  for  the  nails.     For 

*Bignonia,  sp.  t  Rosewood;  also  a  Bignonia.  :[  Acrodiclidium,  sp. 

THE   FOREST.  201 

here,  as  I  have  said,  are  woods  from  which  to  choose  ;  here  are  cables  as 
good  as  of  hemp,  made  of  the  bark  of  certain  trees,  which  will  hold  a  ship 
in  the  heaviest  gale  ;  here  are  pitch  and  tar  ;  here  is  oil,  as  well  vegetable 
as  from  fish  ;  here  is  excellent  oakum,  which  they  call  embira,  for  calk- 
ing the  ships  ;  here  is  cotton  for  the  sails  ;  and  here,  finally,  is  a  great 
multitude  of  people,  so  that  nothing  is  wanting  for  as  many  ships  as  may 
be  placed  on  the  stocks."  * 

In  1876  the  Brazilian  Government  sent  a  large  collection 
of  woods  to  the  Philadelphia  exposition,  and  they  attracted  a 
great  deal  of  attention,  even  among  the  crowd  of  other  things  ; 
people  were  astonished  at  their  variety  and  beauty.  In  truth, 
the  collection  embraced  only  a  small  part  of  the  most  valu- 
able kinds  ;  on  the  Amazons  alone  there  must  be  two  or 
three  hundred  that  would  be  worth  exporting,  besides  the 
great  host  of  valueless  ones  that  make  up  the  forest.  But 
precisely  here  is  the  commercial  difficulty.  There  are  so 
many"  kinds  that  they  will  seldom  pay  the  cutting. 

Lumbermen  deal  in  large  quantities  ;  they  want  so  many 
hundred  thousand  or  million  feet  of  a  certain  kind  of  wood. 
Now,  suppose  I  should  agree  to  furnish  a  million  feet  of  pao 
d'arco  ;  I  would  be  baffled  in  the  outset,  because  the  trees 
are  few  and  far  between  ;  I  must  cut  a  road  for  every  one, 
and  then  in  a  square  mile  of  timber-land  I  would  get  no  more 
than  fifty  or  a  hundred  logs.  By  rare  good  luck  I  may  find 
an  exceptional  spot  where  the  species  that  I  am  searching 
for  exists  in  quantity,  but  such  tracts  are  limited  and  often 
far  from  the  river-banks,  where  they  are  valueless,  at  present. 

The  natural  remedy  is  the  formation  of  large,  central 
store-yards,  where  the  timber  can  be  sorted  and  shipped. 
Suppose  that  a  grade  of  prices  were  set  for  the  different  kinds 
of  logs,  so  much  per  foot  for  each,  in  large  or  small  quantity. 

*  Nuevo  descubrimiento  del  gran  Rio  de  las  Amazonas,  xxvi. 

202  BRAZIL. 

I  imagine  that  the  supply  would  come  in  slowly  at  first,  but 
it  would  increase  as  people  saw  the  advantages  of  a  fixed 
price  ;  men  would  enter  into  the  business  ;  government  land 
would  be  taken  up,  and  so  after  a  while  there  would  be  a 
large  and  active  timber-trade  all  through  the  valley. 

In  any  case,  these  hard  woods  cannot  take  the  place  of 
pine  and  other  soft  kinds  ;  and  even  if  they  could,  the  Ama- 
zonian forests  could  never  compete  with  our  northern  ones 
for  cheap  timber.  Lumbermen  will  tell  you  that  it  does  not 
always  pay  to  cut  pine  forest.  The  trees  must  be  on  hill- 
sides, generally,  and  not  far  from  a  river,  so  that  they  can 
be  *'  slipped  "  down  over  the  snow  and  floated  to  market. 
Here,  under  the  tropics,  there  is  no  snow.  Suppose  you  get 
your  log  to  the  river  ;  it  will  not  float  unless  it  be  a  cedro  or 
some  one  of  the  few  other  light  kinds,  and  most  of  these  are 
good  for  nothing.* 

But  if  the  world  does  not  want  an  unlimited  supply  of 
cabinet  woods,  it  does  want  them  in  pretty  large  quantities, 
and  will  pay  well  for  them.  If  it  is  w^orth  while  to  cut  ma- 
hogany and  rosewood  in  Honduras  and  the  West  Indies,  it 
will  be  worth  while  to  cut  fifty  kinds  on  the  Amazons  ;  only 
one  must  choose  the  ground,  near  river-banks  and  where  the 
best  trees  are  abundant.  One  often  hears  it  said  that  good 
timbers  are  never  found  near  the  river ;  but  this  is  a  great 
mistake.  The  varzea  species  are  generally  soft  and  worth- 
less, and  these  are  the  ones  that  are  seen  along  the  main 
Amazons.  But  there  are  plenty  of  deep  side-channels  and 
tributaries  that  run  along  the  terra  firme  and  by  the  richest 
timber-lands  ;  schooners   could   ascend   from   Para   in   a  few 

*  It  is  only  fair  to  say  that  many  of  these  facts  were  suggested  to  me  by  Maj.  O. 
C  James,  of  Rio  de  Janeiro,  a  sharp  observer  and  one  thoroughly  acquainted  with 
the  pros  and  cons  of  Brazilian  commerce. 

THE    FORESr.  203 

days  and  take  loads  from  the  banks.  I  know  of  such  places 
along  the  Tapajos,  where  the  splendid  itiaracoattara*  grows 
quite  commonly  almost  at  the  water's  edge ;  and  with  it 
there  are  a  dozen  other  woods,  only  less  beautiful. 

Most  of  the  forest  is  government  land  ;  certain  valuable 
portions  belong  to  the  Amazon  Steamboat  Company,  which 
•would  be  glad  enough  to  dispose  of  the  timber  at  a  reason- 
able profit.  As  for  the  government,  it  has  never  done  any- 
thing for  the  timber  trade  ;  on  the  contrary,  there  is  the 
suicidal  export  tax  that  burdens  every  industry  in  Brazil. 
At  present,  I  believe,  the  duty  at  Para  is  fourteen  per  cent. 
.ad  valorem.  If  the  logs  are  brought  from  the  Upper  Brazil- 
ian Amazons,  they  must  pay  an  additional  tax  on  passing 
from  one  province  to  the  other  ;  but  if  they  come  from  Peru, 
they  pay  no  tax  at  all,  because  the  river  is  now  a  free  high- 
way. So  far  as  I  know,  the  value  of  this  duty  has  never 
reached  one  hundred  dollars  in  any  single  year  ;  commonly, 
it  does  not  figure  at  all  in  the  custom-house  reports.  If  it 
has  any  effect,  it  is  to  frighten  people  away  from  the  timber- 
trade  ;  the  difficulties  are  great  enough,  as  we  have  seen  ; 
and  this  extra  burden  would  make  a  sad  drain  on  the  pos- 
sible profits. 

Possibly  the  tax  might  be  removed  or  modified,  if  a  de- 
termined effort  were  made  against  it.  At  any  rate,  I  am 
inclined  to  think  that  an  Amazonian  timber  company  might 
succeed  very  well  if  it  were  properly  managed.  The  natu- 
ral drawbacks  are  probably  less  than  in  other  tropical  coun- 
tries, and  the  forest  land  is  very  cheap.  But  in  this  and 
every  other  Brazilian  project  one  cannot  start  with  too  much 
care.     The   ground   must  be  carefully  examined  by  experi- 

*  Corruption  of  muird-koaiidra  ;  literally,  striped  wood  ;  a  handsome,  dark  tim- 
ber, hardly  inferior  to  leopard-wood,  to  which  it  seems  to  be  allied. 

204  BRAZIL. 

enced  men  ;  the  scarcity  of  labor  must  be  considered,  and 
the  hundred  stumbhng-blocks  that  will  be  thrown  in  the  way 
by  stupid  government  officials  and  jealous  merchants.  Then 
the  enterprise,  once  started,  must  be  backed  by  a  liberal 
supply  of  money  and  unlimited  perseverance. 

Perhaps  the  Jesuit's  dream  will  be  realized  some  day  ; 
for  surely  he  was  right  when  he  said  that  no  other  country 
was  so  well  fitted  for  ship-building.  But  it  is  not  simply  that 
iron  for  nails  and  copper  for  sheathing  must  be  imported, 
with  fifty  other  things  ;  the  "  great  multitude  of  people  "  has 
melted  away  under  Portuguese  mismanagement  and  tyr- 
anny ;  there  are  no  skilled  workmen ;  the  scattered  valley 
population  is  ignorant  and  unprogressive,  and  in  the  south 
the  coffee-trade  absorbs  all  attention. 

We  stand  here  in  the  forest  and  wonder  at  the  riches 
about  us  :  unavailable  riches — as  useless  as  Crusoe's  money. 
But  they  are  grandly  beautiful ;  you  and  I  are  richer  for  the 
great  trees,  if  the  world  at  large  is  not. 



AT  Diamantina  and  Taperinha,  all  our  mornings  are 
spent  in  the  woods  and  clearings,  gathering  new 
treasures  for  our  collections  and  great  store  of  notes  on 
the  forest  animals  and  their  habits.  Mr.  Piatt  has  fitted  up 
a  laboratory  in  his  great  kitchen,  with  a  dry-goods  box 
for  a  table,  and  a  hanging  shelf  to  keep  our  collections  from 
the  ants.  Here  we  sit  in  the  hot  hours,  working  over  the 
treasures  that  the  morning  has  given  us,  taking  notes, 
labelling,  and  packing  all  away  securely  from  the  damp 

Mrs.  Piatt  is  hospitable,  and  willing  to  let  us  use  her  kit- 
chen ;  but  one  trial  we  have  brought  her — our  pet  monkey, 
Nick.  It  is  a  little  Cebus  that  I  bought  one  day  in  Santarem, 
and  brought  home  on  horseback ;  the  monkey  attracted 
some  attention  in  the  street  by  climbing  to  the  top  of  my 
Madras  hat,  and  sitting  there  like  a  crest  to  a  helmet,  chat- 
tering, meanwhile,  in  a  tremendous  flow  of  monkey-ora- 
tory. Arrived  at  Piatt's  house,  Nick  was  tied  to  a  beam;  he 
got  loose  the  very  next  day,  and  proceeded  to  explore  the 
house  and  all  its  furniture  ;  ran,  at  length,  into  the  box- 
pantry,  and  uncovered  all  the  dishes  until  he  found  a  cup 
of  molasses,  from  which  he  helped  himself  liberally.      Mrs. 



Piatt  remonstrated  with  a  switch,  and  Nick  retired  to  a  beam 
above,  Hcking  his  fingers. 

After  that,  there   is   no    ruHng   him.      We  tie  him  every 

day,  but  he  always  man- 
ages to  get  loose,  or  some 
mischievous  child  sets 
him  free  ;  from  one  end 
of  the  house  to  the  other 
he  runs,  with  the  cord 
dragging  behind  him ; 
upsetting  boxes  and  cups, 
peering  into  the  looking- 
glass^  teasing  the  dog, 
seeking  everywhere  for  his  favorite 
molasses.  He  is  fond  of  insects  too. 
I  find  him  thieving  from  my  cases, 
and  send  him  off  with  a  boxed  car, 
declaiming  loudly  against  my  cruelty. 
One  day  he  gets  even  with  me.  There 
IS  a  beam  over  our  work-table,  and  a 
rope  hanging  from  it.  Nick  runs  slyly 
along  this  beam,  lets  himself  down 
on  the  rope,  and  snatches  a  grasshop- 
per over  my  shoulder  ;  then  he  is  off 
again  in  a  trice,  grinning  and  exhibit- 
ing his  capture,  and  chattering  deri- 
sion in  the  most  heart-rending  manner. 
Nick  disappears  shortly  after  this. 
Whether  he  is  lost,  or  whether  he  has 
run  away  to  escape  the  dreaded  morning  wash,  or  whether 
he  is  a  victim  to  Mrs.  Piatt's  housekeeping,  we  never  learn. 
But  thereafter  we  buy  no  more  monkeys.     There  is  another 

Spider  Monkeys. 



one  in  the  house  ;  not  a  troublesome  one,  but  a  Httle  help- 
less baby  Coata,*  only  a  month  old.  The  mother  was  shot 
in  the  woods,  and  this  little  one  was  found  clinging  to  her 
body  when  she  fell.  The  little  monkey  is  lank  and  ungainly, 
with  long,  black  hair,  and  great,  black,  beseeching  eyes  that 
fill  with  tears  when  the  orphan  is  aggrieved  ;  he  is  very  like 
a  human  baby  in  his  actions,  sucking  his  fingers  or  playing 
with  chips  lazily ;  hardly  able  to  crawl  around,  but  clinging 
to  everything  with  his  strong  prehensile  tail.  He  moans 
softly  when  we  caress  him,  and  cries  like  a  child  when  we  go 
away.  Poor  thing,  he  misses  Nick  sadly  ;  our  mischief-loving 
cebus  liked  nothing  better  than  to  cuddle  or  caress  the  coata ; 
a  funny  sight,  for  Nick  was  hardly  half  as  large  as  this  over- 
grown infant. 

Older  coatas  are  most  affectionate  pets.  At  one  of  the 
American  houses  we  find  a  full-grown  one,  which  is  kept  tied 
to  a  tree  before  the  door  ;  it  always  greets  you  by  going 
through  a  series  of  sprawling  gymnastic  exercises,  hanging 
by  one  or  another  long  arm,  or  often  by  its  tail,  crooning  and 
shaking  its  head  to  attract  attention  ;  then,  when  you  come 
A'ithin  grasping  distance,  it  embraces  you  tenderly  around  the 
/leck,  as  an  affectionate  child  might. 

Our  monkey's  cousins  are  in  the  woods ;  now  and  then 
we  see  a  prego  or  a  coata  swinging  among  the  trees  ;  and 
the  hunters  speak  of  ten  or  twelve  kinds  in  this  vicinity. 
Nearly  all  species  go  in  bands — two  or  three,  or  a  dozen  ; 
they  are  travellers  by  nature  ;  I  never  heard  of  their  fre- 
quenting a  particular  place,  much  less  of  having  a  settled 
habitation.  Mrs.  Monkey  travels  with  the  children  on  her 
back   until   they  can  go  alone;  they  all  live   on  wild  fruits, 

*  Ateles^  sp. 



and  on  insects  which  they  catch  cleverly  with  their  hands. 

But    it    is    not  easy  to  observ^e  their    habits   in   the  woods ; 

they  travel    among  the   thick-leaved   upper  boughs,    hardly 

ever   approaching  the    ground  ;    so   that  it  is   only  by  rare 

good  luck  that  we  catch  a  glimpse  of  them. 

Of  the   other   forest  animals   we  see  only  three   or  four 

here.  The  pret- 
ty red  and  white 
deer*  are  as  com- 
mon as  any, com- 
ing to  feed  in  the 
great  cane-field, 
where  we  some- 
times find  them. 

They  are  very 
curious.  I  re- 
member a  red 
deer  that  stood 
looking  at  me 
steadily  while  I 
within  ten  yards 
of  her,  before  she 
bounded  ofT  to 
the  woods.  We 
Young  Pacas.  find  that  tlic  vcn- 

ison  of  these  deer  is  inferior  to  that  of  our  northern  species. 
The  pacas t  are  much  better  game.  They  are  rodents,  allied 
to  our  squirrels   and  rats,  but  very  unlike  them  in   appear- 

*Coassus  rufus,   C.  nemorivagus.     There  are  other  species  of  these  straight- 
horned  deer. 

+  Coelogenis  paca. 


ance — heavy  animals,  two  feet  long  when  they  are  full-grown, 
and  so  fat  that  they  can  hardly  run  at  all;  however,  they  are 
very  pretty,  colored  white  and  light  brown,  and  spotted  along 
the  back  something  like  a  fawn.  Properly,  the  pacas  are  noc- 
turnal ;  if  we  find  one  by  chance  in  the  day-time,  it  goes 
blundering  about  among  the  trees,  and  we  can  easily  catch  it 
if  the  ground  is  open.  Sometimes  Piatt  shoots  them  with 
trap-guns,  which  they  are  sure  to  tumble  against.  The  flesh 
is  very  tender  and  sweet,  so  the  helpless  pacas  are  hunted 
■continually;  they  must  increase  very  fast,  or  they  would  be 
much  more  rare  about  the  settlements. 

The  agoutis,  or  cotias*  as  they  are  called  here,  are  re- 
lated to  the  pacas,  but  they  are  slender,  running  animals,  in 
appearance  not  unlike  a  small,  hornless  deer.  The  common 
species  is  reddish.  There  is  a  black  one  farther  up  the  Ta- 
pajos,  besides  the  little  cotiudia^  which  is  often  kept  for  a 
pet.  All  the  species  live  on  fruits  and  roots  ;  they  make 
burrows  in  the  ground  as  other  rodents  do,  and  are  alto- 
gether plebeian  and  uninteresting.  The  flesh  is  eaten,  but  it 
is  much  inferior  to  that  of  the  paca. 

Rambling  of  a  morning  about  one  of  the  clearings,  we 
find  a  sloth f  crawling  over  the  ground;  a  most  unusual  cir- 
cumstance, for  the  creatures  hardly  ever  leave  their  forest 
branches.  It  is  not  a  handsome  animal :  a  mass  of  coarse 
gray  hair ;  sharp,  hooked  claws,  and  a  little  round  bullet- 
head,  something  like  a  monkey's,  if  you  can  imagine  a  mon- 
key-idiot. Your  sloth  is  a  thorough  vegetable.  He  hangs 
himself  on  a  branch  by  his  pedal  hooks,  and  in  this  upside- 
down  repose  he  lives,  or  exists,  all  his  days  in  a  dead  calm 
between   eating    and    sleeping.       He    seeks    another    branch 

"■  Dasyprocta,  sp.  van  \  Probably  Bradypus  tridactylus. 



when  he  must  to  find  new  food,  but  a  snail's  locomotion, 
or  a  turtle's,  is  rapid  in  comparison.  This  one  on  the  ground 
is  entirely  out  of  place.  He  sprawls  this  way  and  that, 
stretches  one  leg  forward,  very,  very  slowly,  hooks  a  stick 
and  drags  himself  up  to  it ;  sinks  exhausted  after  the  mighty 
effort;  stops  to  take  a  nap,  may  be,  before  he  begins  again. 
His  utmost  speed  can  hardly  be  more  than  five  or  six  yards 
an  hour.  I  can  suppose,  though,  that  he  would  move  faster 
among  the  branches,  \yhere  his  normal  inversion  is  not  dis- 
turbed. Whatever  brought  him  to  the  open  ground  is  a 
mystery.  All  the  sloths,  I  believe,  live  by  preference  on  the 
cecropia  leaves  ;  bicJio  da  inibaitba^  beast  of  the  cecropia- 
tree,  the  Indians  call  them,  and  a  lazy  person  sometimes 
catches  the  name.  People  eat  the  sloths  when  they  can  get 
nothing  better;  but  the  tigers  must  dislike  them  for  some 
reason,  or  else  they  are  protected  by  their  hanging  position 
on  slender  branches.*  Their  only  defensive  weapons  are  the 
sharp  claws,  with  which  they  can  give  an  unpleasant  dig  : 
you  would  hardly  say  a  blow.  If  you  strike  one,  he  will 
turn  his  stupid  head  around  slowly,  with  a  sleepy  kind  of 
expostulation,  and  then  turn  it  back  again  and  subside  into 
repose.  The  sloths  must  have  very  tenacious  lives  ;  often  it 
takes  three  or  four  charges  of  buckshot  to  make  them  quit 
their  hold  on  the  branches,  and  it  is  noticeable  that  they 
hardly  bleed  ;  the  circulation  is  as  sluggish  as  the  muscular 

Our  first  collecting  trips  are  rather  disappointing.  One 
looks  for  large  and  handsome  species  under  the  equator ;  but, 
instead  of  that,  the  most  of  our  captures  are  small  and  in- 
conspicuous.     The  forest  seems  bare  of  life  in   comparison 

*  Wallace  says  that  the  harpy  eagles  often  attack  them. 


with  woods  and  fields  at  home  ;  birds  are  not  common  ;  ex- 
cept butterflies,  you  will  hardly  notice  the  insects,  unless 
you  are  hunting  for  them.  Only  by  rare  chance  one  gets  a 
glimpse  of  some  larger  animal — a  deer,  a  paca,  or  possibly 
an  ocelot.     Anacondas  and  jaguars  we  do  not  see  at  all. 

This  paucity  of  animal  life  is  more  apparent  than  real. 
No  doubt  there  are  fewer  insects  and  birds  in  an  acre  of  this 
forest  than  in  an  equal  space  in  a  northern  grove.  But  we 
must  remember  that  our  groves  are  only  remnants  of  a  con- 
tinuous forest,  which  once  covered  all  the  Atlantic  slope  ; 
the  animals  that  roamed  over  square  miles  are  now  restricted 
to  acres  ;  the  w^oods  are  crowded  with  life,  as  little  islands  are 
in  a  flood.  Our  untouched  western  and  northern  provinces 
are  as  deserted  as  these  of  the  Amazons. 

Many  of  our  northern  animals  appear  only  during  a  part 
of  the  year  ;  birds  migrate  in  winter,  insects  lie  concealed  as 
larvai  or  pupae.  In  June  the  whole  world  seems  alive  ;  but 
in  August  nine-tenths  of  the  crowd  are  out  of  sight.  Ani- 
mals come,  so  to  speak,  in  flocks,  and  then  disappear.  But 
under  the  tropics  there  is  nothing  to  produce  this  crowding; 
the  birds  do  not  migrate ;  insects  come,  one  after  another,  all 
through  the  year ;  rather  more  abundantly  about  the  begin- 
ning and  end  of  the  dry  season,  but  for  the  rest  the  months 
are  very  evenly  balanced.  Suppose  there  are  ten  thousand 
insects  in  a  given  space  of  ground  ;  during  any  one  month, 
there  may  be  one  or  two  thousand  of  these  flying  about  in 
the  winged  state  ;  but  at  the  north,  seven  thousand  of  the 
ten  thousand  would  be  flying  in  June. 

One  more  thing  we  must  note  in  this  distribution  of  ani- 
mal life.  Your  forest  species  have  not  merely  a  horizontal 
range  of  so  many  acres  or  square  miles  ;  most  of  them  are 
arboreal,  have  a  vertical  range  also,  of  ninety  or  a  hundred 

212  BRAZIL. 

feet.  Some  kinds  hardly  approach  the  ground  at  all ;  they 
live  on  the  forest-roof,  hiding  among  the  green  leaves,  or 
flying  about  in  the  sunshine.  You  and  I,  walking  in  the 
shade  below,  will  see  only  stray  ones  that  may  have  come 
down  in  some  open  place. 

If  most  of  the  forest  insects  are  rare,  the  ants  and  white 
ants  are  common  enough  to  make  up  for  them.  The  white 
ants  work  under  shelter,  build  long  passages,  and  dig  tun- 
nels ;  their  mounds  are  common  along  the  road,  and  every 
tree-trunk  and  branch  has  its  covered  way,  often  ending  in  a 
great,  ball-shaped  house.  The  material  for  all  these  works  is 
formed  in  the  bodies  of  the  insects  themselves  :  half-digested 
vegetable  matter  ;  the  unceasing  work  of  their  lives  is  to  de- 
vour dry  wood,  rubbish,  mould,  books,  clothing,  and  then 
turn  them  into  passages  and  dv/ellings.  About  houses  they 
are  great  pests  ;  a  party  of  them  will  riddle  the  contents  of  a 
trunk  in  half  a  day. 

Of  the  true  ants  there  are  scores  of  species,  each  with  its 
own  customs.  The  Indians  have  names  for  many  of  them  ; 
one  black  kind,  the  tocatidera*  is  an  inch  and  a  quarter  long. 
We  often  find  the  nests  of  these  giants  at  the  foot  of  some 
sapling  ;  if  we  poke  the  holes  with  a  stick,  the  ants  come  out 
buzzing  like  so  many  bees  and  stinging  fiercely  if  they  get  a 
chance.  The  wound  is  almost  as  painful  for  the  moment  as 
that  of  a  scorpion.  Foraging  ants  we  see  now  and  then,  and 
the  strange  leaf-carrying  CEcodoma — terror  of  the  farmers,  for 
it  often  strips  the  mandioca-plants  of  their  foliage.  Fortu- 
nately, it  is  not  very  common  about  the  American  planta- 

As  the  rainy  season  sets  in,  our  entomologizing  trips  are 

*  Dinaponera  grandis. 



more  successful ;  on  some  days  we  bring  in  two  or  three  hun- 
dred species  of  beetles,  and  perhaps  as  many  more  of  other 

There  is  a  rare  delight  in  this  every-day  life  of  a  natural- 
ist. In  the  morning  we  are  up  at  sunrise,  swallow  a  cup  of 
coffee,  and  hurry  off  to  the  dewy  woods  w'ith  our  nets  and 
collecting-bottles.  Along  the  paths  we  tread  softly  ;  peer 
under  the  leaves,  search  the  brush-heaps  for  wood-eating 
beetles.  A  palm-tree,  recently  cut,  is  full  of  small  species, 
boring  into  the  central  pith  to  suck  the  sweet  juice.  From 
a  hollow  in  the  stump  we  fish  out  great  black  weevils, f  two 
inches  long  ;   take  care  that  they  do   not  clasp  your  fingers 

*  Entomological  friends  may  be  interested  in   the  following  lists  of  beetles  col- 
lected on  different  days.     The  lists  are  taken  verbatim  from  my  note-book: 

December  17th. — Worked  about  eight  I  Chrysomelidae.   25  species,  31  specimens. 

hours  with  the  beating-net. 
Cerambycidae. . .     i  species,  i  specimen. 

Buprestidas 12        "        14  " 

Scaraboeidae 7        "        13  " 

Lucanidae i        "         2  " 

Cicindelidae i       "  i  " 

Carabidae 7        "         7  " 

Elateridee 6       "  6  " 

Coccinellidae 7        "        13 

Lampyridae 10       "        13  " 

Staphylinidae. . . .     4        "         4  " 

Cleridse 2        "         2  " 

Mordellida? 4        "         6  " 

Erotylida; 3        "  9  " 

Chrysomelidae. .  .104       "      171  " 

Rhyncophora  . .  .  75        "       94  " 

Various 31        "       38  " 


Various 45       "         55 

Total 132       "        188 

Almost  all  of  these  were  large  and  fine 

January  29th. — Worked  mostly  along 
the  new  road. 

32  species,  43  specimens. 


February  3d. — I  have  noted  41  species, 


•  32 



Buprestidae. . . 


Lampyridae. . , 






Staphylinidae. . 






"^^"^  j  75  specimens,  of  the  beautiful  longicorn 

The  majority  of  these  were  small  spe-  beetles,  all  collected  in  about  five  hours' 
^'^^-  I  work,  after  a  rain  ;  this  is  the  largest  num- 

January28th. — Worked  along  a  newly-  ber  I  ever  obtained  of  that  family  in  a  sin- 
cut  road.  Day  cloudy,  gle  day's  work.  On  several  days  I  have 
Cerambycidae..  23  species,  34  specimens,  noted  from  80  to  95  species  of  Rhynco- 
Rhyncophora..  39       "          68          "  phora. 

t  Rhyncophora  palmarum. 

214  BRAZIL. 

with  their  hooked  legs,  or  they  will  give  you  a  pinch  to  re- 
member. We  can  find  the  larva  of  this  palm-weevil  in* old 
stumps, — a  white  grub  that  bores  through  the  sweet  pith. 
Sometimes  the  Indians  eat  these  or  other  white  grubs,  not 
from  necessity,  but  as  a  luxury,  as  more  civilized  epicures 
delight  in  raw  oysters.      I  never  tried  the  grubs. 

A  gorgeous  blue  MorpJio  butterfl}-  comes  sailing  down 
the  road  ;  its  wings  glance  in  the  sunshine  like  a  mirror. 
Catch  it  if  you  can  by  a  clever  throw  of  your  net ;  but  if 
you  miss  it,  do  not  go  racing  after  it ;  ten  to  one  it  will 
elude  you,  and  you  may  trip  over  a  root  for  your  pains. 
The  morphos  fly  in  the  morning.  Later  in  the  day  you  will 
find  them  balanced  sleepily  on  low  boughs  ;  you  can  catch 
them  with  your  fingers  if  you  are  still  enough.  This  is 
a  common  species,  hardly  worth  running  after  ;  there  are 
others,  Morpho  Hecuba  for  example,  that  you  may  not  see 
for  months  together.  Hecuba  expands  eight  or  nine  inches  ; 
its  wings  above  are  dark,  with  broad  diagonal  bands  of  pale 
blue  ;  beneath,  it  is  handsomely  mottled  with  rich  brown 
and  white.  All  the  morphos  are  marked  beneath  with  sub- 
dued colors,  and  you  will  find  that  this  is  generally  the  case 
with  forest  butterflies.  They  are  bright  enough  in  the  air, 
but  in  repose  they  sit  with  the  wings  folded,  and  then  you 
will  hardly  notice  them  among  the  leaves. 

This  is  only  one  instance  among  a  thousand  of  natural  con- 
cealment ;  in  truth,  you  do  not  see  a  tenth  of  the  life  about 
you,  because  so  few  of  the  forms  are  conspicuous.  There 
are  interesting  exceptions  to  this  rule  of  coloring  among  the 
butterflies  ;  certain  quick-flying  kinds  expose  their  rich  tints 
freely.  Some,  that  sit  with  the  wings  extended,  have  the 
bright  colors  all  beneath  ;  a  common  species  rests  in  this 
way  on  tree-trunks,  with  its  wings  flat  against  the  bark  ;  the 


rnottled  upper  surface  is  so  like  the  gray  around  it,  that 
}'OU  hardly  notice  the  insect  ;  but  beneath,  it  is  banded 
with  bright  blue  and  crimson. 

Here  is  a  felled  tree  by  the  roadside.  An  inexperienced 
collector  will  search  over  it  in  vain  ;  your  trained  bug-hunter 
will  walk  behind  him  and  pick  off  a  score  of  beetles  from  the 
bark  ;  large  and  beautiful  species  many  of  them, — "  long- 
icorns "  and  weevils,  with  soft  brown  and  gray  tints  that 
harmonize  wonderfully  with  the  surface.  They  cling  to  the 
Jower  side  of  the  log  ;  the  weevils  drop  to  the  ground  if  you 
approach,  but  the  longicorns  sit  quite  still,  with  their  long 
antennae  and  legs  held  close  against  the  body ;  even  the 
sharpest  eyes  may  pass  them  over.  I  have  ten  years'  ex- 
perience now,  but  I  can  never  be  sure  that  I  have  picked 
the  last  beetle  from  a  log  ;  often,  when  I  am  about  to  leave 
it,  the  net  drawn  along  the  under  side  will  bring  half  a  dozen 
new  forms  to  my  collecting  bottles.  It  is  curious  to  see  how 
cleverly  the  forest  insects  conceal  themselves.  They  hide  at 
the  bases  of  leaves,  crawl  under  bark,  make  masks  of  sticks 
and  rubbish  ;  the  spiders  sit  in  their  webs,  with  legs  all 
"drawn  together,  so  that  they  look  like  fallen  flower-buds  or 
seeds ;  many  make  dens  by  drawing  the  leaves  together. 
Beetles  often  feed  on  the  under  side  of  a  pendent  leaf,  and 
you  will  never  notice  them  without  peering  beneath. 

But  the  forest  itself  is  the  best  concealment.  It  is  a  vast 
shadow,  deepening  into  blackness,  or  paled  to  gray  and 
brown,  but  everywhere  with  little  patches  of  intense  light. 
You  may  not  observe  even  brilliant  colors  here,  because  the 
eye  is  dazzled  by  these  lights.  Scarlet  is  least  subject  to 
this  rule,  from  its  strong  contrast  to  the  green  leaves,  but 
even  a  scarlet  passion-flower  will  often  escape  notice.  A 
curious  instinct   teaches  the    forest    animals  to  remain  per- 

2l6  BRAZIL. 

fectly  quiet  when  they  are  alarmed,  and  it  is  wonderful 
how  well  they  may  be  concealed  in  this  way.  I  have  often 
searched  vainly  for  a  trogon  or  thrush  that  had  sounded  an 
unguarded  note  ;  it  might  be  close  by^  and  in  plain  sight  but 
for  the  light-spots  around  it. 

Every  day  we  find  examples  of  protective  resemblances 
and  mimetic  forms  :  insects,  especially,  resemble  leaves,, 
sticks,  what  not;  mimic  each  other,  and  are  thus  protected 
from  birds  and  toads.  There  are  plenty  of  examples  about 
Taperinha  and  Diamantina  that  are  quite  as  wonderful  as 
those  described  by  Wallace  and  Darwin. 

Here,  along  the  shady  forest-roads,  are  brown  butterflies,, 
lighting  on  the  ground  or  on  the  lowest  branches  ;  if  we  ap- 
proach them  quietly  they  turn  their  bodies  so  that  the  head 
is  away  from  us,  and  the  wings,  folded  over  their  backs,  are 
foreshortened.  In  this  position  there  is  nothing  left  for  the 
eye  but  a  little  brown  streak,  which  w^e  hardly  notice  on 
the  dark  ground.  The  beautiful  Hetairas  live  also  near  the 
ground,  and  have  this  same  habit,  but  they  are  better  pro- 
tected by  their  transparent  Avings,  w^th  a  single  bright  spot 
at  the  angles.  They  keep  to  the  darkest  woods,  flying 
feebly  among  the  low  herbs  ;  but  it  is  impossible  for  the 
eye  to  follow  even  such  slow  movements  ;  the  transparent 
wings  give  only  the  impression  of  a  little  quiver  of  sunlight 
through  the  branches. 

There  are  green  tree-toads  sitting  on  the  leaves,  and  gray 
ones  on  tree-trunks  and  lichen-covered  rocks  ;  ugly  green 
and  gray  lizards,  too,  that  we  w^ill  hardly  notice  as  they  sit 
on  logs  and  stumps.  Snakes  are  green,  very  often  ;  but  in 
these  w^oods  their  most  eflectual  concealment  lies  in  their 
forms,  like  vine-stems  ;  they  twist  about  branches,  species 
often   as   slender  as  a  whip-cord,  and   no  wonder  that  they 


escape  observation  when  the  woods  are  full  of  vines,  twining 
in  precisely  the  same  manner.  Our  sharp-eyed  Indian  guide 
may  see  one  of  these  tree-snakes,  and  point  it  out  to  us  ; 
but  peer  as  we  will,  we  cannot  distinguish  the  creature, 
though  it  may  be  hardly  a  yard  away.  The  longitudinal 
stripes  of  many  species  aid  in  this  concealment  ;  the  body 
slides  away  before  our  eyes,  and  apparently  there  is  no 
movement  at  all  until  the  tail  slips  out  of  sight. 

In  other,  and  more  interesting  protective  forms,  the  ani- 
mal resembles  some  particular  object ;  a  leaf,  a  bit  of  bark, 
a  stick,  and  so  on.  One  of  the  simplest  of  these  imitations, 
but  a  very  effective  one,  Ave  find  among  certain  "  longhorn  " 
beetles  {Lamiidce),  long-bodied,  cylindrical  insects,  almost 
ahvays  of  dull  gray  or  brown  colors.  Most  of  them  are 
night-flyers  ;  all  day  they  cling  to  dried  branches,  each  with 
its  legs  twisted  close  around  a  twig,  and  its  antennai  laid 
down  by  its  side.  In  this  position  they  look  very  much 
like  little  short  sticks,  so  that  even  our  sharp  entomological 
eyes  will  often  be  deceived.  Those  sharper  entomologists, 
the  birds,  are  deceived  also ;  and  so  the  helpless  beetles 
are  saved  from  destruction.  Here  in  the  Amazonian  forest 
this  imitation  is  especially  effective,  because  a  brush-heap 
is  certain  to  have  bits  of  vine-stems  still  clincrincr  to  the 
twigs.  One  lamian  that  we  find  has  the  middle-body  and 
the  bases  of  the  wing-covers  marked  with  dull  green,  band- 
ed and  roughened  to  resemble  a  lichen  ;  the  front  of  the 
head  is  concave,  and  white,  with  a  black  spot  in  the  middle, 
precisely  like  the  broken  end  of  a  hollow  stick ;  and  the 
hinder  end  of  the  body  is  inclined  and  rough,  like  a  twig 
broken  diagonally.  We  have  been  searching  over  the  brush- 
heap  for  half  an  hour,  while  this  fellow  is  clinging  to  a  pro- 
jecting stick  ;  at  length  I  break  off  the  stick,  beetle  and  all, 


and  examine  it  closely ;  but  the  resemblance  to  a  bit  of 
rotten  vine-stem  is  perfect ;  the  legs  twisted  about  the  twig 
are  precisely  like  rootlets,  such  as  you  see  on  many  climbers. 
So  I  am  about  to  throw  the  stick  away,  when  the  beetle  is 
foolish  enough  to  move,  and  so  goes  into  our  collecting  bot- 
tle after  all. 

There  is  a  very  elongate  lamian  that  clings  to  grass-stalks 
in  the  same  manner ;  another  is  light  gray  and  very  rough, 
like  the  excrescences  of  the  rough-barked  tree  on  which  it 
lives.  One  day,  I  find  an  assacil  tree,  of  which  the  large 
blunt  spines  contain  a  very  poisonous  juice.  I  break  off  one 
of  these  spines  (it  is  rather  more  than  half  an  inch  long)  and 
carry  it  home,  a  five  minutes'  walk.  There  we  turn  it  over 
and  examine  it  for  some  time  before  we  discover  that  there 
is  a  gray  beetle  clinging  to  it  ;  it  is  a  flat  species,  and  very 
nearly  as  long  as  the  spine  itself,  and  precisely  like  it  in 
color  ;  while  it  remained  still,  there  was  nothing  to  distinguish 
it  from  the  general  surface,  and  only  when  my  fingers  come 
in  contact  with  the  beetle's  body,  I  discover  that  it  is  alive. 

There  are  leaf-butterflies  here,  only  less  perfect  imita- 
tions than  the  Kallima  paralekta,  which  Mr.  Wallace  de- 
scribed so  graphically  ;  two  or  three  species  of  geometrid 
moths  also  imitate  leaves,  only  in  them  the  outspread  wings, 
taken  together,  represent  a  small  leaf.  The  upper  wings  on 
either  side  are  pointed  ;  a  curved  mark  connects  these  two 
points  across  the  body  of  the  insect,  representing  the  mid- 
rib, while  faint  radiating  lines  indicate  the  side-veins. 

But  we  find  the  most  wonderful  leaf-imitators  among  the 
OrtJioptej'a ;  grasshoppers,  locusts,  mantises,  even  roaches, 
are  protected  in  this  way.  One  large  locust,  or  katydid, 
is  so  like  a  terminal  leaf-bud  just  opening,  that  it  would  seem 
diflicult  to  carry  the  imitation  farther.     The  upper  wings  are 



<lark,  shining  green,  like  a  pair  of  terminal  leaves  still  folded 
together.  From  the  shoulder  to  near  the  end  of  the  wing 
a  conspicuous  vein  marks  the  midrib  ;  and  smaller  veins, 
branching  and  netting,  are  entirely  like  the  venation  of  a  leaf. 
The  lower  wings  are  long,  and  protrude  beyond  the  others  ; 
an  unusual  feature  among  them  ;  they  are  lighter  green,  pale 
leaves  budding  out  from  between  the  older  ones.  The  green, 
.slender  hind-legs  well  represent  a  bent  stalk,  and  the  fore-legs 


.and  body  are  the  base  of  a  bud.      In   this  case  the  antennae 
are  very  fine  and  inconspicuous.* 

Beating  among  the  bushes  one  day,  we  discover  a  still 
more  curious  locust.  This  species  closely  resembles  a  half- 
eaten  leaf;  such  an  one  as  you  may  find  on  any  bush  where 
caterpillars  and  beetles  have  been  feeding.  The  wings  are 
green,  broad,  and  wavy  at  the  sides,  like  a  leaf;  the  insect, 
as  we  find  it,  is  resting  head  down  on  a  twig,  and  the  an- 
tennae, folded  together  stiffly,  take  the  place  of  a  leaf-stalk. 
The  midrib  is  arranged  as  in  our  other  locust,  but  it  is  pale, 

*I  regret  that  a  woodcut   gives  a  very  imperfect  idea  of  this  insect.     It  should 
have  been  represented  as  sitting  on  a  twig,  or  branch. 

220  BRAZIL. 

as  in  a  sickly  leaf;  the  venation  is  plainly  shown.  On  the 
upper  part  of  the  wing  there  is  an  irregular  spot,  circum- 
scribed by  veins,  and  brownish  yellow  in  color  ;  such  a  spot, 
in  fact,  as  is  left  by  leaf-mining  larvae.  Variations  in  the 
color  of  this  spot  represent  minute  fungus-growths  with  won- 
derful accuracy,  and  there  are  other  little  fungus- dots  scat- 
tered about  the  wing,  as  you  will  find  them  on  a  half-dried 
leaf.  Finally,  the  ends  of  the  wings  are  truncated,  not 
squarely,  but  in  a  scalloped  manner,  as  a  leaf  is  cut  off  by 
caterpillars  ;  the  hind-legs  are  brown  and  shrivelled,  looking 
like  dried  stalks=  The  more  we  examine  our  prize  the  more 
we  marvel  at  its  complete  and  really  microscopical  imitation  ; 
one  would  think  that  a  less  perfect  resemblance  would  have 
served  as  well.* 

There  are  numbers  of  great  ''preying  mantises  "  on  the 
branches  ;  piuiha-mezas,  "  set-the-tables,"  by  their  expres- 
sive Brazilian  name.  Many  of  these  are  leaf-insects  also  ; 
one  in  particular  resembles  a  wilted,  dried-up  bunch  of  leaves 
in  the  most  curious  manner.  Its  color  is  pale,  yellowish 
brown.  The  upper  wings,  instead  of  being  laid  flat  on  the 
back,  as  in  the  other  mantises,  are  raised  over  it,  and  curi- 
ously twisted  and  curled  ;  we  think  at  first  that  they  are 
aborted.  They  perfectly  represent  dried,  curled-up  leaves, 
the  midribs  very  prominent,  as  if  seen  from  the  lower  side. 
The  hind-body  is  flat,  and  from  its  color  will  represent  an- 
other dried  leaf;  the  head,  and  broad  front  legs,  are  so  many 
more  in  the  little  bunch.  This  is  a  predaceous  species,  and 
no  doubt  the  resemblance  serves  to  conceal  it  from  its  prey 
as  well  as  from  its  bird-enemies. 

^The.e  are  several  species  of  the  same  genus,  some  resembling  green,  and 
others  dried  leaves.  By  mistake  the  insect  has  been  represented  in  the  drawing 
with  the  head  uppermost. 



Some  of  the  spiders,  we  find,  are  excellent  imitators. 
The  cylindrical  species  lie  extended  in  their  webs,  with  the 
•legs  stretched  out,  to  look  like  a  stick  ;  round-bodied  kinds 
draw  their  legs  close  and  look  like  a  leaf-bud,  or  a  ball  of 
their  own  silk  entangled  in  the  web.  From  Miss  Muffet's 
lime  until  now,  the  spiders  frighten  people  away  ;  but  how- 
shall  we  notice  this  one  that  sits  on  a  leaf,  all  in  a  heap  ; 
the  pink,  three-lobed 
body  appears  just  like 
a  withered  flower  that 
might  have  fallen  from 
the  tree  above;  to  the 
flies,  no  doubt,  the  de- 
ception is  increased 
by  the  strong,  sweet 
odor  of  the  spider, 
like  jasmine.* 

Mr.  Bates  long  ago 
described  the  curious 
Heh'conian  butterflies 
and  their  mimics 
among  other  species. 
There  are  hundreds  of 
such  examples;  when- 
ever a  group  of  insects  is  distasteful,  for  any  reason,  to  the 
birds,  there  are  always  other  insects  that  mimic  these,  and 
are  thus  protected,  because  the  birds  are  deceived  by  their 
appearance,  and  will  not  touch  them.  One  day,  for  example, 
I  am  watching  what  I  suppose  to  be  a  Stizics  wasp  :  a  large 
black  species,  with  deep  purplish-black  wings  ;  it  is  running 

*  I  regret  that  I  cannot  give  the  name  of  this,  and  other  spiders  that  I  speak  of; 
but  my  collection  (nearly  six  hundred  species)  has  yet  to  be  studied  and  described. 

Leaf-insect.  2. 

222  BRAZIL. 

about  among  the  grass-tufts,  moving  its  antennae  rapidly,  as- 
is  the  fashion  with  these  wasps,  and  I  am  curious  to  see  what 
it  will  do.  After  awhile  1  discover  that  my  supposed  wasp 
is  a  grasshopper  ;  a  most  remarkable  one,  indeed,  for  I  never 
saw  such  a  color  before  in  a  grasshopper ;  and  the  fussy 
movements  are  utterly  unlike  the  slow  sidlings  of  Orthoptera,. 
or  their  quick  leaps. 

In  the  woods  we  are  often  attacked  by  swarms  of  little- 
Melipoua  bees  ;  they  have  no  sting,  but  each  one  grasps  hold, 
of  a  hair,  and  pulls  with  all  his  might.  They  have  a  very- 
strong,  unpleasant  odor,  which  probably  makes  them  dis- 
tasteful to  birds  ;  hence,  they  have  no  use  for  a  sting.  The- 
meliponas  are  little,  hairy  insects,  always  daubed  over  with 
honey,  or  with  some  excretion,  so  that  they  have  a  very 
peculiar  appearance.  Two  species,  a  black  and  a  yellow  one, 
are  very  common  ;  both  of  these,  and  several  less  commoni 
kinds,  are  mimicked  by  little  *Monghorn"  beetles,  species  of 
CJiaris.  The  form  of  the  mimic  is  like  that  of  the  bee,  and: 
utterly  unlike  what  we  are  accustomed  to  among  the  long- 
horns,  or  any  other  beetles  ;  the  wing-covers  are  short,  so  as- 
to  expose  the  membranous  wings  ;  the  body  is  hairy,  and 
even  the  tufted  hind-legs  of  the  bee  are  found  also  in  the 
beetle.  But  what  is  still  more  singular,  the  sticky  appear- 
ance of  the  bee  is  imitated  by  the  beetle  in  a  peculiar  ar- 
rangement of  white  and  dark  hairs,  and  smooth  surfaces  that 
look  moist  at  a  little  distance. 

In  the  United  States  there  are  a  few  rare  spiders  that 
mimic  ants.  Here  at  Taperinha  we  find  a  good  score  of 
species  of  these  spiders,  aping  the  various  kinds  of  ants  very 
closely;  even  the  odd,  spiny  wood-ant,  Cryptocerits,  furnishes, 
a  pattern,  and  there  are  spiders  that  mimic  the  wingless  ich- 
neumons.    We  find,   after  awhile,  that  the  spiders  prey  on 


ants,  just  as  our  spiders  catch  flies  ;  indeed,  this  fact  has  al- 
ready been  noted  by  other  observers. 

But  we  go  a  step  beyond  the  books,  when  we  discover 
not  only  that  the  spiders  eat  the  ants,  but  that  they  eat  the 
particular  ants  which  they  mimic.  At  all  events,  we  verify 
this  fact  in  a  great  number  of  cases,  and  we  never  find  the 
spiders  eating  any  but  the  mimicked  species. 

I  do  not  like  to  hazard  a  theory  on  this  case  of  mimicry. 
It  is  difficult  to  suppose  that  the  quick-witted  ants  would  be 
deceived,  even  by  so  close  a  resemblance  ;  and  in  any  case  it 
would  seem  that  the  spiders  do  not  require  such  a  disguise  to 
capture  slow-moving  ants.  Most  birds  will  not  eat  ants  ;  it 
seems  likely,  therefore,  that  this  is  simply  another  example 
of  protection  ;■  the  spider  deceives  its  enemies,  not  its  prey; 
it  mimics  the  particular  species  that  it  feeds  on,  because  it  is 
seen  in  that  company  when  it  is  hunting,  and  among  a  host 
of  similar  forms  it  is  likely  to  pass  unnoticed. 

In  certain  insects  we  observe  a  curious  feature  that  may 
indicate  another  form  of  protection.  A  good  many  beetles,, 
we  find,  are  formed  and  colored  so  that  the  hinder  end  of  the 
body  is  almost  a  counterpart  of  the  head-end  ;  or,  in  some 
cases,  the  insect  is  apparently  reversed,  and  the  head  seems 
to  be  the  tail.  These  cases  are  especially  marked  among  the 
cylindrical  species,  Lamiidce,  etc.  Again,  a  number  of  the 
handsome  "  longhorn  "  beetles  are  remarkable  for  tufts  of 
hairs,  which  the  different  kinds  bear  on  their  antennae.  We 
find  two  or  three  species,  however,  whose  antennae  are  plain, 
but  there  are  similar  hair-tufts  on  the  hind-legs.  Mr.  Bates 
noticed  these  forms,  and  commented  on  their  singularity. 
"It  suggests  curious  reflections,"  he  writes,  ''when  we  see 
an  ornament  like  the  feather  of  a  grenadier's  cap,  situated  on 
one  part  of  the  body  in  one  species,  and  on  a  totally  different 

2  24 


part  in  nearly  allied  ones."  The  effect  of  this  change  in  the 
position  of  the  ornaments  is  to  invert  the  insect  in  appear- 
ance. The  species  that  have  these  tufts  behind  are  remark- 
able for  their  very  long  hind-legs  ;  and  these,  held  straight 
behind  them,  appear  very  much  like  antennae. 

Small    moths    [Pyralidce,    Toitricidce,    Tinceidce^    sit    on 
leaves,   with   their  wings  folded   over   their  backs.       In   this 

Longicorn   Beetles.* 

position,  many  of  the  species  resemble  sticks,  moss,  bird- 
droppings,  etc. ;  other  kinds  appear  inverted,  like  the  beetles. 
Certain  narrow-winged  kinds,  when  at  rest,  are  very  much 
longer  than  broad  ;  and  some  of  these  have  a  singular  habit 

*The  specimens  are  represented  as  somewhat  magnified  ;  they  would  be  more 
propeily  represented  on  a  log  or  tree,  as  they  are  very  rarely  seen  upon  thei 


of  spinning  about  on  the  leaf  when  alarmed,  moving  the  body 
rapidly  around  the  head  as  a  pivot.  One  genus  that  has  this 
habit,  is  marked  by  a  bright  red  head  ;  but  one  or  two  of 
the  species  have  the  head  plain,  and  red  spots  on  the  ends 
of  their  wings — i.  c,  on  the  ends  of  their  tails  as  they  sit  on 
the  leaf;  these  species  spin  about  their  tails  instead  of  their 

All  these  cases  point  to  one  supposition.  The  insects,  for 
some  reason,  derive  an  advantage  from  apparent  inversion 
of  the  two  extremities  of  the  body.  Now,  in  collecting,  we 
often  find  that  these  inverted  species  escape  us.  We  have 
learned  to  make  allow^ances  for  the  insect's  flight  when  we 
throw  our  net  over  it  ;  we  always  aim  to  throw  a  little  in 
front  of  the  head  ;  but  with  the  inverted  species  we  are  de- 
ceived, and  throw  a  little  behind  the  tail,  when  the  insect  im- 
mediately flies  aw^ay. 

I  can  suppose  that  the  birds  are  deceived,  just  as  we  are  ; 
that  they  pick  a  little  behind  the  insect's  tail  instead  of  a  little 
in  front  of  its  head  ;  and  hence,  that  the  species  is  protected 
by  its  inversion  of  coloring.  However,  I  may  be  wrong  ; 
these  phenomena  must  be  more  carefully  studied  before  we 
can  reason  much  on  them.  Of  one  thing,  however,  we  may 
be  certain  :  the  inversion  is  not  a  mere  useless  whim  of  na- 
ture. IMore  and  more  we  are  coming  to  see  that  no  form, 
7io  coloring,  no  pattern  of  sculpture  is  meaningless  or  useless. 
Much  as  we  may  admire  the  beautiful  tints  and  ornamentation 
and  plumage,  we  do  not  yet  know  their  full  value  ;  they  are 
not  simply  a  beauty  of  nature  ;  they  are  features  of  that 
deeper  beauty,  the  great  unfolding  scheme  of  life. 



FIRST  we  must  have  a  canoe.  There  are  scores  along 
the  beach,  but  they  belong  to  fishermen  or  merchants, 
who  do  not  care  to  let  them  ;  this  one  is  too  small,  and  that 
too  large,  and  another  is  leaky  ;  only  after  a  day  of  disap- 
pointments we  find  a  craft  that  suits  us  entirely.  It  is  made 
of  itauba  wood  in  the  ordinary  canoe  pattern ;  the  bottom  all 
of  one  piece,  turned  up  at  the  ends,  and  the  sides  strength- 
ened with  a  board  all  around.  The  length  is  about  sixteen 
feet;  rather  more  than  a  third  of  this,  in  the  stern,  is  occupied 
by  the  Httle  arched  cabin  of  palm-leaf  mats.  The  owner, 
Ricardo,  promises  to  see  that  the  hull  is  freshly  calked  and 
tarred ;  he  proposes  to  go  as  steersman,  so  we  have  one  man 
secured.  My  servant,  Pedro,  will  do  for  another  ;  we  pick 
up  an  Indian,  Joaquim,  at  the  Aldeia,  and,  to  complete  the 
crew,  a  queer  character  who  is  lounging  about  the  town,  an 
English  sailor  or  miner,  or  Jack-of-all-trades,  named  Dunn. 
Slabs  of  dried  fish  and  a  basket  of  farinha  are  stowed  under 
the  tolda,  with  sugar  and  coffee,  and  sundry  boxes  of  biscuits 
and  cans  of  preserves  for  our  own  use ;  these,  with  our 
trunks  and  the  men's  bundles,  fill  the  little  space  completely. 
At  the  last  moment  one  of  the  men  comes  down  with  a  great 
basket  of  oranges  and  bananas,  which  are  stowed  in  the  bow 
with  our  less  perishable  luggage. 



''Adeosf  shouts  Ricardo  ;  Dunn  sees  a  mulatto  beauty 
on  the  beach  and  flings  back  a  last  sarcasm.  The  two  In- 
dians take  their  paddles  with  smiles  on  their  dull,  good-na- 
tured faces  ;  and  so  we  push  off  into  the  bright  water.  It  is 
four  o'clock  ;  Santarem  is  just  waking  from  its  afternoon  nap, 
and  there  is  a  subdued  bustle  about  the  streets  and  shore. 
Looking  away  from  the  white  walls  and  beach,  the  opposite 
shore  is  in  strong  contrast  ;  green  varzea  meadows,  with 
clumps  of  trees  at  the  water's  edge.     No  houses  are  visible  in 

Trie   Embarkation. 

this  direction.  Cattle  are  pastured  on  the  meadows,  but 
they  are  out  of  sight  behind  the  bushes  ;  we  see  only  the 
rich  lights  and  shadows,  stretching  down  to  the  Amazons. 

The  Tapajos,  opposite  Santarem,  is  rather  less  than  three- 
fourths  of  a  mile  wide,  but  it  is  very  deep  ;  no  less  than  one 
hundred  and  thirty  feet  in  some  places.  There  is  very  little 
current :  it  seems  more  a  lake  than  a  river,  with  the  clear 
water  and  the  wide  reaches  above.      Here  and  there,  the  sur- 

228  BRAZIL. 

face  is  marked  with  green  streaks,  millions  of  little  particles. 
These  particles  poison  the  water  in  the  dry  season,  and  make 
it  unfit  for  drinking.  Probably  they  are  confervoid  growths 
that  accumulate  in  pools  above  the  rapids. 

There  is  a  smart  breeze  from  the  east.  Ricardo  has  the 
sail-  up  directly,  and  our  little  craft  dashes  along  gloriously 
over  the  ripples.  In  fifteen  minutes  we  have  run  past  the 
Point  of  Mapiri,*  conspicuous  for  its  lime-works.  Now  we 
lose  sight  of  Santarem,  and  the  river  begins  to  widen  out : 
the  bay  of  Mapiri  on  one  side,  and  the  great  Enseada  das 
Araras,  Macaw  Gulf,  on  the  other,  make  a  stretch  probably 
seven  miles  across  ;  but  it  is  narrower  above.  Southward 
lie  the  blue  hills  of  Diamantina  and  Panema,  and  the  out- 
standing, bare,  conical  Scrra  de  Intra,  a  beautiful  picture. 
Serra  dc  Pancvia  is  the  extreme  northwestern  point  of  the 
highlands,  and  it  divides  two  little  water-sheds,  clear  streams, 
uniting  to  form  the  Igarape  de  Mapiri  on  the  north,  and  the 
Igaripc-assu  (Big  Creek)  on  the  south.  Both  of  these  empty 
into  the  bay  of  Mapiri  ;  beyond  their  mouths,  picturesque 
white  clay-cliffs  stretch  to  the  Ponta  de  Maria  e  Jose,  the 
farther  limit  of  the  bay.  The  near  ground  has  that  peculiar, 
gray,  semi-forest  tint  of  the  sandy  campos  which  lie  just 
around  Santarem  ;  but  all  the  highlands  beyond  are  rich 
with  forest.  Dunn  fancies  that  he  can  distinguish  one  or 
two  cane-fields  of  the  Americans,  but  he  may  well  be  mis- 

Past  white  cliffs,  and  past  sand-beaches  and  rocks  beyond. 
On  the  northern  side  a  great  point  of  lowland  stretches  to- 
ward us,  and  here  the  little  Fiiro  de  ArapicJmna  is  always 

*  Otherwise  Ponta  de  Sale.  The  lime-works,  owned  by  Sr.  Souza,  of  Santarem, 
are  quite  important.  Limestone  is  brought  down  theTapajos  in  barges,  and  burned 
here.  * 



emptying  yellow  water  into  the  clear  Tapajos.  The  Ara- 
pichuna  is  an  Amazonian  channel :  all  the  lowland  on  that 
side  is  built  up  of  Amazonian  mud,  for  the  Tapajos  has 
nothing  to  build  with  ;  its  water  carries  no  sediment  at  all. 
The  yellow  river  is  still  encroaching  on  the  clear  one,  through 
this  Furo  de  Arapichuna,  which  has  built  the  point,  and  is 
lengthening  it  every  day  ;  Enseada  das  Araras  is  simply  a 
bay,  left  at  the  side  of  this  mud-point,  and  in  time,  no  doubt, 
the  growth   of  the   point   will   leave   it   a  lake,  with   varzea 

Camp  on  the  Tapajos. 

meadow'S  on  either  side.  For  the  rest,  all  this  lowland  lies 
directly  across  the  real  channel  of  the  Tapajos,  which  runs 
north  and  south ;  by  and  by  we  shall  have  occasion  to 
compare  it  with  similar  formations  at  the  mouths  of  other 

We  are  following  the  highland  shore,  which  begins  to 
swing  around  to  the  southward.  Every  little  point  and  bay 
has  its  sonorous  Tupi  name ;  I  hope  that  Brazilians  may 
have  the  good  taste  to  retain  them,  instead  of  putting  saints' 

230  BRAZIL. 

names  and  theological  phrases  in  their  place.  All  the  In- 
dian designations  were  formed  naturally.  Let  us  suppose, 
for  example,  that  some  fisherman  wished  to  direct  his  com- 
panions to  a  certain  point  or  bay  ;  there  was  no  acknowl- 
edged name,  so  he  pointed  out  the  locality  by  some  feature 
that  distinguished  it,  or  some  event  that  had  happened  there. 
"  That  point  where  we  saw  the  alligator  yesterday,"  or,  as  he 
would  put  it,  '*  The  point  of  the  alligator."  Next  day,  or  the 
week  after,  some  one  is  telling  the  story  of  their  adventures. 
He  appeals  to  his  companions.  ''This  happened  on  such  a 
day  ;  you  remember :  when  we  were  encamped  at  the  Alliga- 
tor Point — Ponta  do  Jacarc :''  using  the  same  designation, 
because  it  has  been  used  once  before.  In  course  of  time  the 
name  is  adopted  by  general  consent,  without  any  special 
baptism.  So  with  other  places  :  a  black  water-stream  comes 
to  be  the  Igarapc'-pichiuia ;  a  toad-shaped  rock  gives  its  name 
to  a  point — ^'Poiita  dc  Ciiriirii ;''  and  so  on.  Even  at  this 
day  you  will  notice  the  formation  of  these  names.  **  Look," 
says  Joaquim,  *'  canoe  on  the  shore  !  "  ''Where  ?  "  asks  one. 
"Why  there,  don't  you  see?  On  that  beach  of  the  javary 
palms  —  Praia  das  Javary s  ;'^  and  the  place  is  known  at 
once.  If  any  marked  event  takes  place  here,  we  shall  talk 
all  through  the  voyage  of  the  Javary  sand-beach,  and  the 
name  may  go  down  for  a  thousand  years,  long  after  the 
javarys  have  disappeared. 

Away  to  the  westward,  the  land  is  only  a  dark  line,  with 
the  sun  sinking  behind  it ;  fleecy  clouds  above  catch  the 
glow  for  a  moment,  and  then  gray  twiHght  settles  down  over 
the  water  :  the  short,  tropical  twilight,  that  warns  us  to  seek 
a  camping-place  for  the  night.  We  run  the  canoe  aground 
on  a  long  sand-bank  ;  the  men  bring  dry  wood  from  the  for- 
est near  by,  and  presently  we  have  a  bright  fire,  over  which 

THE  TAP  A  JOS.  231 

our  coffee  simmers  delightfully.  Meanwhile,  poles  have 
been  set  to  support  our  hammocks,  and  the  men  have  found 
beds  in  the  sand.  The  wind  is  strong,  and  the  waves  are 
beating  monotonously,  but  the  canoe  is  dragged  up  safe  be- 
yond their  reach  ;  listening  to  them  we  sink  to  sleep  ;  all 
night  long  our  hammocks  are  swaying,  and  the  waves  are 
washing,  and  clear  stars  are  shining  overhead,  for  the  east 
wind  brings  no  rain.     Noche  clara  y  serena. 

The  morning  is  magnificent  ;  waves  are  rolling  white  by 
this  time,  and  the  air  almost  sparkles.  We  bathe  in  this 
fresh-water  surf;  then,  while  the  men  are  preparing  coffee 
again,  we  stroll  up  and  down  the  sand  and  pick  up  numbers 
of  shells — young  Unios  and  Anodoiitas.  In  a  pool  near  by 
there  are  great  river-snails,  Ampiillarias,  and  everywhere 
on  the  pebbles  we  find  fresh-water  sponges.  Little  painted 
sand-frogs  hop  about  here  by  thousands,  and  there  are  num- 
bers of  peculiar  insects — tiger-beetles,  and  flies,  and  wasps ; 
we  could  entomologize  for  days.  Here,  too,  we  see  the 
handsome  y<^r<^'*  palm,  for  the  first  time;  a  moderate-sized 
species,  with  slender  stem  and  graceful,  drooping  leaves. 
Exploring  farther,  we  find  a  little  lake,  not  more  than  half  a 
mile  across,  all  shut  in  with  steep  slopes,  except  where  this 
bank  separates  it  from  the  river.  A  tiny  stream  flows  down 
over  the  sand  and  clay,  with  cascades  here  and  there  ;  per- 
haps the  whole  fall  may  be  twenty  feet.  Lago  da  Agua  Preta 
— Black-water  Lake — the  men  call  it;  the  water  is  dark  green, 
very  clear  and  deep,  reflecting  the  forest-clad  hills  about  it, 
and  the  carana  and  javary  palms  ;  it  is  as  unlike  the  shallow 
varzea  lakes  as  the  Tapajos  is  unhke  the  Amazons.  Lago 
de  Tapary  is  like  this  one,  a  true  terra-firma  lake.     Ricardo 

*  Leopoldina  pulchra. 



says   that  pirarucus  are  found  in  both,  but  the  water  is  too 

deep  for  successful  fishing. 

The  waves  are  roUing  so  high  that  we  can  hardly  push  the 

canoe  out ;  we 
run  off  before 
the  wind  at  ra- 
cing speed,  and 
heel  over  fright- 
fully under  our 
great  sail.  Ri- 
cardosits  stead- 
ily in  the  bow, 
steering  with  a 
paddle;  the 
other  men  stand 
ready  to  drop 
the  sail  at  a  mo- 
ment's notice. 
We  run  gallant- 
ly along  the  pic- 
turesque shore, 
watching  the 
white  clay-cliffs 
and  sandstone 
>'^P^'"^-  rock    here    and 

there,*  and  the  fringing  sand-beaches  below  ;    not  a  house  or 

a  sail  in  sight,  and  the  river  always  widening.     Rounding  the 

*  I  may  as  well  state  here  that  all  these  Lower  Tapajos  rocks,  and  as  far  up  as 
Aveiros  at  least,  are  soft  sandstones  and  clays ;  all  that  we  know  of  their  position  is 
contained  in  the  cautious  remark  of  Prof.  Hartt :  "Not  a  trace  of  fossil  remains 
has,  as  yet,  been  found  in  these  beds,  so  that  their  exact  age  cannot  be  determined, 
but  they  are  certainly  not  older  than  the  Tertiary."  Report  of  a  Reconnoissance  of 
the  Lower  Tapajos :   Bulletin  Cornell  University  (Science),  vol.  i.,  No.  i. 

THE   TAPAJOS.  233 

rocky  Ponta  de  Ctct-arit,  we  are  fairly  in  the  main  north  and 
south  course  ;  it  is  only  at  its  mouth  that  the  Tapajos  is  nar- 
rowed by  Amazonian  varzea,  and  forced  into  a  great  bend  to 
the  east. 

Now  you  see  what  a  magnificent  channel  this  is.  The 
western  shore  is  terra  firme  like  this,  but  it  appears  only  as 
a  blue  ridge,  eight  or  nine  miles  away ;  *  to  the  south  there  is 
a  great  open  horizon  like  the  sea.  Northward,  the  great  bay 
of  Villa  Franca  gives  another  clear  horizon.  This  bay  is 
properly  the  mouth  of  the  river  Arapiiiiis,  which  has  its  ori- 
gin in  the  hilly,  densely  wooded  lands  between  the  Tapajos 
and  the  Maues.  "After  forming  some  rapids,  it  descends  to 
the  plains  ;  receives  one  affluent  from  the  south,  and  another 
from  the  west  ;  turns  east-northeast  to  the  point  of  Curupa, 
where  it  is  already  five  hundred  metres  wide.  Thence  it 
flows  twenty  miles  to  the  bay  of  Villa  Franca,  its  width  one 
to  one  and  a  half  miles,  and  the  beautiful  white  sand-beaches 
contrasting  with  the  dark  blue  of  its  water  ;  half-wooded  cam- 
pos  on  the  right,  and  low,  wet  lands  on  the  left,  very  much 
like  those  of  the  bay."  t  The  bay  itself  takes  its  name  from 
a  pretty  little  village  on  the  western  side  of  the  river,  where 
the  land  is  high  and  free  from  fevers.  Beyond  lies  the  great 
lake  of  Villa  Franca,  celebrated  for  its  pirarucu  fisheries  and 
for  the  cattle  fazendas  along  its  shores. 

The  river  water  is  wonderfully  clear ;  just  by  the  rocky 
shore  it  is  very  deep — forty  fathoms,  says  Ricardo.     A  lit- 

*  Nearly  ten  miles  just  above.  The  measurements  given  by  Tavares  (O  Rio 
Tapajos,  p.  7)  are  as  follows:  At  the  mouth,  1,700  metres;  from  Tapary  (our  first 
camp)  to  Villa  Franca,  12,964  metres;  opposite  Alter  do  Chao  (the  greatest  width), 
14,816  metres;  at  Boim,  7,408  metres;  at  Pinhel,  11,100  metres;  at  Aveiros,  3,204 
metres;  at  Cury,  6,232  metres;  and  at  Itaituba,  3,204  metres.  Most  of  these  fig- 
ures, I  fancy,  are  merely  approximations. 

t  D.  S.  Ferreira  Penna :  A.  Regiao  Occidental  da  Provincia  do  Para,  p.  167. 

234  BRAZIL. 

tie  farther  on  there  is  a  great  sand-bank,  stretching  a  mile 
into  the  river.  The  steamboat  channel  is  comparatively  nar- 
row off  this  sand-bank  ;  beyond,  there  are  dangerous  shal- 
lows, as  there  are  in  many  other  parts  of  the  Lower  Tapajos. 
For  our  part,  we  do  not  fear  the  shallows,  but  with  wind 
from  the  north  our  clumsy  little  canoe  will  not  weather  the 
sand-bank,  and  we  run  plump  against  it.  The  men  jump 
out  and  drag  us  around  through  the  shallow  water,  tugging 
at  a  long  rope  and  enjoying  the  fun  ;  this  brings  us  into  the 
pretty  bay  oi Alter  do  Chdo,  Earth-altar;  the  bay,  and  a  lit- 
tle settlement,  take  their  name  from  a  strange,  wedge-shaped 
clay  hill  that  stands  all  alone  in  the  campo  near  by.  We 
paddle  across  to  the  village,  where  there  is  a  little  clear  creek 
running  over  the  sand.  The  canoe  is  pushed  into  this,  with 
some  difficulty,  owing  to  the  swift  current ;  and  we  walk 
up  to  the  settlement.  A  more  dilapidated  place  you  will 
not  find  in  the  province.  The  thirty  or  forty  palm-thatched 
houses  are  arranged  irregularly  about  glaring  sandy  streets  ; 
one  tile-covered  building  and  a  half-ruined  church  are  the 
best  structures  that  the  village  affords.  The  people — Indians 
and  half-breeds  mostly — seem  half-starved  and  wholly  lazy. 
There  are,  it  is  said,  four  hundred  and  thirty  inhabitants.* 
A  little  tobacco  and  mandioca  are  planted  on  the  rich  land 
farther  back  ;  but  the  place  is  noted  for  the  perennial  hunger 
that  reigns  in  it.  The  fisheries  along  these  rocky  shores  are 
by  no  means  good.  **  When  we  arrived  in  port,"  says  Mr. 
Bates,  '*  our  canoe  was  crowded  with  the  half-naked  villagers 
— men,  women,  and  children,  who  came  to  beg  each  a  piece 
of  salt  pirarucu,  'for  the  love  of  God.'     They  are  not  quite 

*  According  to  Tavares  (1876);  Barboza  Rodriguez  (1875)  gives  593;  and  Fer- 
reira  Penna(i869)  allows  but  138,  including  those  in  the  immediate  vicinity.  Among 
these  conflicting  authorities,  I  am  at  a  loss  to  give  an  opinion. 

THE   TAPAJOS.  235 

SO  badly  off  in  the  dry  season.  The  shallow  lakes  and  bays 
then  contain  plenty  of  fish,  and  the  boys  and  women  go  out 
at  night  to  spear  them  by  torchlight." 

We  carry  our  letter  of  introduction  to  the  village  school- 
master, who  volunteers  to  go  with  us  to  the  wedge-shaped 
Alter  do  Chao,  or  Serra  Piroca*  as  the  Indians  say.  The 
path,  after  crossing  the  igarape,  lies  over  sandy  campo,  much 
like  that  of  Santarem ;  but  the  trees  look  fresher,  and  there  is 
much  green  grass.  The  serra  is  quite  as  steep  as  it  looks  to 
be ;  we  scramble  up  the  sides,  clinging  to  grass-tufts  and  fern- 
stalks,  for  there  are  no  trees  ;  the  top  is  a  ridge  about  three 
feet  wide,  and,  with  the  sweeping  wind,  we  are  much  inclined 
to  hold  on  to  whatever  is  near.  But  the  view  is  worth  the 
trouble.  Tapajds  spreads  gleaming  to  the  blue  shores  of 
Villa  Franca  ;  beyond,  we  can  just  distinguish  some  distant 
hills,  far  off  by  Lago  Grande.  The  bay  and  the  sand-beaches 
are  below  us  on  one  side  ;  on  the  other  are  sandy  campos, 
stretching  to  the  picturesque  wooded  slopes  beyond,  and  a 
lovely,  clear-water  lake,  half  hidden  among  the  hills.  We 
could  gaze  for  hours,  but  our  time  is  limited,  so  we  only  stop 
for  one  or  two  hasty  sketches ;  noting  that  our  aneroid  marks 
ninety  metres  above  the  river,  and  eighty  above  the  campo. 
We  notice  many  curious  trap-door  spiders  about  the  top. 
Notwithstanding  the  steepness  of  the  hill,  we  can  distinguish 
very  little  of  the  geological  structure. f  We  pick  up  some 
curious  hard  iron-stone  nodules  about  the  base  of  the  hill  ; 
round,  hollow,  and  filled  with  white  sand  ;  we  have  seen 
something  similar  at  the  Serra  de  Irura,  near  Santarem.  We 
have  only  time  now  to  visit  the  lake,  which  is  close  by  the 
village,  emptying  into  the  Tapajos  by  the  little  rapid  creek 

*  Tupi:   "bald."  t  See  Hartt :  op.  cit.,  p.  2>S- 

236  BRAZIL. 

where  our  canoe  is  lying  ;  the  water  is  wonderfully  clear, 
without  a  trace  of  the  green  confervoid  particles  that  we  see 
in  the  Tapajos.  From  the  serra  we  noted  how  the  lake 
divides  into  two  long  arms,  each  of  which  receives  a  little 
stream  ;  the  general  surface  may  be  one  or  two  feet  above 
that  of  the  Tapajos.  This  lake  is  not  as  deep  as  the  Lago  de 
Agua  Preta,  which  we  visited  this  morning,  but  it  greatly  re- 
sembles it  otherwise.  Clearly,  all  these  terra-firme  lakes  are 
simply  the  valleys  of  little  side  streams  that  have  been  filled 
in  with  water.  This  one  of  Alter  do  Chao  shows  it  plainly; 
the  lake  forks  above,  and  each  fork  receives  a  stream  ;  but 
draw  out  the  lake  water  and  there  would  simply  be  a  forked 
stream  flowing  into  the  Tapajos.  Remember  that  the  river 
rises  at  least  thirty  feet  every  year,  and  at  this  time  it  brings 
down  considerable  quantities  of  sand.  The  little  stream 
brings  down  sand  also  ;  in  time  a  bar  is  formed  across  its 
mouth.  This  bar  is  covered  during  the  highest  floods,  but  it 
is  twenty  feet  or  more  above  the  river  at  low  water,  thus 
forming  a  dam,  over  which  the  lake  water  flows  in  a  little 
swift  stream,  as  at  Alter  do  Chao,  or  a  series  of  cascades,  as 
at  Lago  de  Agua  Preta. 

The  bay  of  Alter  do  Chao  has  its  history.  It  must  have 
been  here  that  Pedro  Texeira  found  the  principal  Tapajos 
village  : 

*'  Leaving  the  Amazons,  he  entered  the  Tapajos  for  twelve  leagues, 
until  he  came  to  a  harbor  of  crystalline  waters,  with  beautiful  groves 
forming  a  canopy  around  ;  a  delightful  place,  where  he  found  the  new 
tribe  already  advised  of  his  visit  by  his  friends,  the  Tapuyusus.  How- 
ever, remembering  always  the  inconstancy  of  fortune,  he  disembarked 
in  the  immediate  vicinity  of  the  village,  and  fortified  himself  with  all 
good  order  and  military  discipline  ;  but  when  he  was  satisfied  of  their 
fidelity,  he  met  them  with  more  confidence,  and  found  them  less  barba- 
rous  than  their  neighbors  ;  he  heard,  also,  probable  reports  that  the 

THE   TAPAJOS.  237 

tribe  was  due  to  the  commerce  of  the  CastiHan  Indies,  from  which  they 
had  retired.  He  remained  here  some  days  with  friendly  intercourse, 
and  after  purchasing  some  handsome  mats  and  other  curiosities,  re- 
turned to  Para,  justly  pleased  with  his  discoveries,  but  with  very  few 
slaves  ;  for  the  Tapajdses  esteem  these  in  such  sort  that  they  will  rarely 
part  with  them/'  * 

Afterwards,  the  mission  village  oi  Borary  was  formed  here  ; 
some  say  Piierary,\  because  certain  polished  stone  beads  or 
ornaments,  called  muirakitans,  were  found  in  the  lake.  The 
place  must  have  risen  to  some  importance,  for  in  1758  it  was 
constituted  a  village  ;  but  in  1841  it  was  reduced  to  the  cate- 
gory of  a  settlement,  where  it  is  likely  to  remain.  Besides  the 
proverbial  laziness  of  the  people,  the  fire-ants  :j;  are  doing  their 
best  to  depopulate  the  place.  Generally^  these  ants  are  found 
about  sandy  and  weedy  streets,  and  near  water  ;  loamy  and 
forest  ground  is  free  from  them.  The  species  is  rather  less 
than  a  quarjier  of  an  inch  long,  but  the  pain  caused  by^  its 
sting  is  out  of  all  proportion  to  the  size  of  the  insect. 

Our  schoolmaster  friend  is  a  good  deal  surprised  when 
we  say^  '*  adeos'^  to  him  ;  he — Brazilian  fashion — would  have 
rested  for  the  day  after  such  a  tramp.  But  we  are  off  down  the 
igarape  and  on  the  river,  where  the  breeze  is  strong  yet,  com- 
ing in  puffs  that  do  their  best  to  upset  us.  Rounding  a  point, 
we  lose  sight  of  Alter  do  Chao  and  so  sail  on  until  night, 
when  the  wind  dies  out  and  our  men  push  on  with  the  pad- 
dles. We  go  into  camp  finally,  at  a  place  called  Aramanahy  : 
a  narrow  sand-beach,  with  steep  hillsides  beyond.  There 
are  three  or  four  houses  here,  palm-thatched  like  those  of 
Alter  do  Chao.  One  or  two  of  the  men  stroll  down  to  our 
boat  curiously  ;  they  offer  us  a  shelter  for  the  night,  but  we 

*  Berredo:  Annaes  Historicos  do  Estado  do  Maranhno,  2d  ed.,  p.  240. 
t  Puerd,  a  bead,  v^,  water.  %  Myrmica  sa^vissima. 

238  BRAZIL. 

prefer  to  sleep  on  the  beach.  After  supper,  however,  we 
return  their  visit ;  the  people  here  are  farmers  in  a  small 
way,  and  commendably  industrious  ;  we  find  them  all,  men, 
women  and  children,  busily  at  work  by  the  dim  light  of  one 
or  two  tin  lamps.  They  are  preparing  tobacco,  cutting  out 
the  midrib  and  twisting  the  leaves  into  long  rolls.  The  Tapa- 
jos  tobacco  is  considered  the  finest  in  the  Amazons  valley. 
It  is  cultivated  on  the  rich  black  lands  along  the  edge  of  these 
bluffs,  where  the  Indians  had  their  villages  long  ago.  In  the 
morning  we  climb  the  hill  to  inspect  one  of  these  village  sites, 
but  find  only  a  few  fragments  of  pottery.  In  other  places 
there  is  abundant  harvest  for  the  archeologist.  All  along 
this  side  of  the  Tapajos,  from  Alter  do  Chao  to  the  lower 
rapids,  the  bluffs  must  have  been  lined  with  these  villages,* 
for  the  black  land  is  almost  continuous,  and  at  many  points 
pottery  and  stone  implements  cover  the  ground  like  shells  on 
a  surf-washed  beach.  This  black  land  is  near  the  river ;  back 
in  the  forest,  so  far  as  we  know,  there  is  only  yellow  loam 
and  clay,  without  a  trace  of  ancient  occupation. 

The  forest  covers  all  this  high  land,  a  plateau,  continuous 
with  the  hills  of  Panema  and  Diamantina.  All  day  we  sail 
by  bluffs  like  those  of  Aramanahy,  almost  a  straight  line, 
perfectly  flat  on  top,  and  some  three  hundred  feet  above  the 
river.  Here  and  there  the  hillside  is  washed  away,  leaving 
picturesque  white  cliffs,  or  glens  where  little  streams  flow 
into  the  Tapajos  ;  on  the  western  side,  also,  we  can  distin- 
guish white  clay  banks,  but  the  land  there  is  lower  and  more 
irregular;  it  is  six  or  seven  miles  away  yet.  Up  and  down 
the  river  the  horizon  is  clear,  and  the  wind  sweeps  up  gayly, 
with   white-capped   waves   and   showers   of  spray   over   our 

*  On  the  other  side  there  is  also  black  land  with  pottery,  but  I  know  nothing  of  its 

THE   TAPAJOS.  239 

tolda ;  we  are  obliged  to  lower  sail  now  and  then,  to  keep 
the  canoe  from  capsizing  ;  well  for  us  that  it  is  so  heavily 
laden.  We  eat  our  breakfast  in  the  boat,  and  smoke  fra- 
grant cigarettes,  and  set  the  men  to  telling  stories,  as  they  will 
on  long  voyages.  Ricardo,  who  is  familiar  with  the  river, 
points  out  places  of  interest  on  the  shores.  On  the  western 
side  there  is  Boim,  ancient  mission  village  of  Santo  Ignacio, 
with  a  curious  history  of  changes. 

*'  This  village  was  anciently  situated,  in  the  year  1669,  near  the  river 
Amazons,  and  on  high  land  ;  but  because  of  the  many  mosquitoes  the 
Fathers  changed  it  to  a  lake  near  by.  The  first  village  was  founded  by 
Father  Antonio  de  Fonseca  ;  he  or  his  successors  built  a  convent,  so 
beautiful  and  well  formed  that  its  goodness  was  the  bane  of  many  In- 
dians and  priests,  who  came  to  live  here,  and  died  because  of  the  malig- 
nity of  the  air  ;  therefore,  in  1737,  the  whole  village  was  removed  to  the 
Tapaj(5s,  where  it  now  is."* 

The  original  proselytes,  it  is  said,  were  Tupinambas  ;  but, 
at  this  day,  the  tribes  are  so  mingled  that  it  is  impossible  to 
tell  one  from  the  other.  Boim  is  a  little  larger,  and  a  shade 
less  dilapidated,  than  Alter  do  Chao  ;  we  can  faintly  distin- 
guish some  of  the  houses  near  the  water's  edge. 

In  the  afternoon  we  pass  by  two  or  three  little  creeks, f 
with  stretches  of  lowland  about  their  mouths,  recalling  the 
Amazonian  varzeas  behind  us.  Near  our  camping-place 
{Andira)  there  is  a  single  house,  but  the  people  are  fuddling 
with  mandioca  beer,  and  we  do  not  care  to  disturb  them. 
We  cook  some  fish  that  the  men  have  caught,  and  eat  with 
such  an  appetite  as  one  gets  in  the  open  air ;  the  ruddy 
firelight  flickers  over  tree-trnnks  and  branches  on  the  bank 
above,  and  casts  long  shadows  across  the  sands  ;  there  are 

*  Moraes  :  Historia  da  Companhia  de  Jesus. 

t  Igarape  Paquiatiiba,  Igarape  Pini,  Igarape  Jaiiary. 

240  BRAZIL. 

no  torturing  mosquitoes  in  this  region,  and  we  sleep  in 
peace,  lulled  by  the  waves  and  the  sighing  wind. 

We  are  off  again  by  daylight,  running  always  by  pictur- 
esque low  hills,  with  beautiful  glens  and  fringing  sands  below, 
and  white  cliffs  contrasting  curiously  with  the  forest.*  We 
stop  to  cook  breakfast  under  one  of  these  cliffs,  by  a  clear, 
cold  water  stream  from  the  hills ;  a  charming  spot,  where  the 
little  white  sand-beach  is  all  overhung  with  bushes  and  vines, 
and  the  cliff  itself  is  half-covered  with  their  curtains.  We 
bathe  in  the  bright  waters  ;  then  ramble  along  the  shore,  find- 
ing rich  treasures  of  insect  and  bird  life,  and  beautiful,  soft 
ferns.  Wading  about  in  the  shallows,  we  collect  numbers  of 
river-shells,  half  a  dozen  different  species  ;  we  must  feel  for 
them  in  the  mud  and  sand  with  our  bare  feet,  and  then  dive 
for  them,  if  the  water  is  deep.  The  men  declare  that  the  bi- 
valves are  eaten,  but  they  do  not  use  these,  so  I  fancy  that 
they  are  not  much  esteemed. 

The  river  is  narrower  now,  hardly  five  miles  wide,  and  a 
little  above,  the  channel  is  divided  by  low  islands,  with  grass 
or  trees ;  varzea,  in  fact,  much  like  that  of  the  Amazons, 
but  largely  made  up  of  sand  instead  of  clay  and  mud.  On 
the  western  side  a  great  space  is  covered  with  this  low  land, 
so  that  the  main  channel  is  hardly  over  a  mile  wide.  We 
have  left  the  lake -like  expanse  of  the  Lower  Tapajos,  and 
are  entering  the  region  below  the  falls,  where  the  river  is 
filling  the  channel  with  sediment. 

Toward  nicrht  we  reach  the  little  village   of  Aveiros,  on 

*  These  cliffs  are  formed  of  friable  sandstones,  and  some  of  them  present  curious 
instances  of  oblique  lamination,  as  at  Pennacova,  where  the  succession  is  as  follows, 
beginning  below:  i.  Purple  sandstone,  horizontal.  2.  Similar  to  i,  laminae  in- 
clined S.  at  about  30°.  3.  Purple  clay,  not  laminated.  4.  Yellow  sandstone,  lami- 
ncE  dipping  N. ,  25"'.     5.  Clay,  decomposed. 

THE   TAPAJOS.  241 

a  high  bank  above  the  river.  It  is  a  picturesque  place,  the 
more  so,  I  suppose,  because  the  streets  arc  neglected,  and 
the  little  church  is  falling  to  pieces,  and  the  houses  have  a 
general  air  of  decay.  Yet  in  its  time,  when  trade  from  the 
upper  rivers  centered  here,  Aveiros  was  a  place  of  importance. 
Of  its  subsequent  history  you  may  judge  by  a  few  passages 
from  various  authors.      Bates,  who  was  here  in  1852,  writes: 

"  Aveiros  may  be  called  the  headquarters  of  the  fire-ant.  The  place 
was  deserted  a  few  years  before  my  visit  on  account  of  this  little  tor- 
mentor, and  the  inhabitants  had  only  recently  returned  to  their  houses, 
thinking  its  numbers  had  decreased.  The  soil  of  the  whole  village  is 
undermined  by  them  ;  the  ground  is  perforated  with  the  entrances  to  their 
subterranean  galleries  ;  the  houses  are  overrun  with  them  ;  they  dispute 
every  fragment  of  food  with  the  inhabitants,  and  destroy  clothing  for 
the  sake  of  the  starch.  They  seem  to  attack  persons  out  of  pure  malice  ; 
if  we  stood  for  a  few  moments  in  the  streets,  even  at  a  distance  from 
their  nests,  we  were  sure  to  be  overrun  and  severely  punished,  for  the 
moment  an  ant  touched  the  flesh,  he  secured  him.self  with  his  jaws, 
doubled  his  tail  and  stung  with  all  his  might.  When  we  were  seated  in 
chairs  in  the  evening,  in  front  of  the  house,  to  enjoy  a  chat  with  our 
neighbors,  we  had  stools  to  support  our  feet,  the  legs  of  which,  as  well  as 
those  of  the  chair,  were  well  anointed  with  bitter  copaiiba  balsam." 

Sr.  Penna's  description,  in  1868,  is  still  more  graphic, 
with  a  touch  of  sarcasm  : 

'^Aveiro. — This  setdement  is  situated  on  the  right  bank  of  the  Ta- 
pajos,  in.  a  very  beautiful  and  pleasant  place,  but  without  inhabitants 
because  of  the  formigas  de  fogo.  A  primary  school  has  been  created 
here  by  law,  but  no  one  has  profited  by  it,  because  no  one  lives  here." 

After  these  warnings,  we  are  a  little  afraid  to  enter  Avei- 
ros at  all,  but  on  venturing  up  the  steep  pathway  we  are 
agreeably  surprised   to  find   so  few  of  the  ants.     They  are 

indeed  plentiful  enough,  and  as  pugnacious  as  ever,  but  the 

242  BRAZIL. 

numbers  are  not  a  tenth  of  what  they  were.  There  are 
people  enough  here  to  form  a  respectable  village,  as  things 
go  on  the  Tapajos  ;  the  exact  number  of  inhabitants  I  know 
not,  nor  would  it  be  worth  while  to  record,  for  within  ten 
years  the  place  may  be  depopulated  again  by  the  terrible 
pests.  Aveiros  people  laugh  now  when  you  speak  of  fire- 
ants.  "Oh!  those  were  in  the  past;  there  are  none  here 

The  village  schoolmaster  (there  is  one  now,  and  a  school) 
invites  us  to  sleep  at  his  house  ;  we  accept  his  hospitality, 
not  without  longing  regrets  for  the  breezy  shore  ;  he  walks 
about  the  village  with  us,  where  we  find  some  clever  and 
good-natured  people,  Indian  and  white. 

After  that,  our  hammocks  are  swung  in  our  host's  sitting- 
room,  and  we  sleep  without  molestation  from  the  ants.  In 
the  morning  we  are  off  across  the  river  to  the  Indian  village 
of  Santa  Cruz  ;  Mundurucu  Indians,  it  is  said,  but  they  are 
not  tattooed  like  those  farther  up  the  river,  and  except  for 
their  being  taller  and  stronger,  we  might  take  them  for 
Tapuios,  like  Pedro  and  Joaquim.  They  have  been  celebrat- 
ing some  festival,  and  two  or  three  of  the  young  men  come 
down  to  meet  us,  decidedly  drunk  ;  yet,  for  the  most  part, 
these  Indians  are  sober  enough.  We  go  to  visit  the  TucJidita 
(chief),  and  find  him  sitting  in  his  hammock,  from  which  he 
rises  politely  to  greet  us.  He  may  be  sixty  years  old,  but 
his  form  is  hardly  bent.  He  talks  of  his  friendship  for  the 
whites,  and  regrets  the  decadence  of  his  village  ;  altogether, 
proves  to  be  a  very  sensible  old  man.  His  wife,  dressed  only 
with  a  petticoat,  stands  behind  him  meekly,  and  takes  no 
part  in  the  conversation. 

All  through  this  part  of  the  river,  the  islands  and  sand- 
banks  occupy  a  great  part  of  the   original   channel,  which, 

THE    TAPAJOS.  243 

besides,  is  narrower  than  below ;  not  more  than  four  miles  at 
the  utmost,  from  highland  to  highland.  Not  far  from  here, 
the  important  little  river  Cupary  enters  from  the  eastern  side. 
Mr.  Bates,  who  ascended  the  Cupary  in  185 1,  gives  us  an 
excellent  account  of  it.  Along  its  lower  course  it  is  no  more 
than  one  hundred  yards  wide,  but  very  deep  ;  no  bottom 
with  eight  fathoms,  and  the  high  banks  gloriously  wooded. 
At  the  lower  falls,  the  channel  is  forty  yards  wide  ;  here  there 
are  villages  of  the  Mundurucu  Indians,  and  Mr.  Bates  found 
them  chasing  after  the  wandering  Pararauate  tribe,  which 
had  been  marauding  in  the  vicinity.  One  often  hears  of 
these  wild  tribes  along  the  Tapajos.  Near  our  camping-place, 
at  Mojigubaly  we  visit  a  house,  where  the  owner  shows  us  two 
curious  arrows.  They  were  obtained  about  sixty  miles  above 
here,  at  the  falls  of  the  Tapajos,  and  there  is  a  bloody  little 
history  attached  to  them.  Some  weeks  before,  wild  Indians 
(said  to  be  Parentintins ;  but  the  nomenclature  of  these 
wandering  tribes  is  hopelessly  confused)  attacked  a  settler's 
family  and  killed  one  of  the  women  ;  but  they  were  driven 
off  before  they  could  do  more  harm.  These  arrows  were 
picked  up  at  the  house  after  this  attack.  They  are  of  ex- 
quisite workmanship  ;  the  head  of  bone,  wound  on  tightly 
with  some  kind  of  thread  ;  the  feathering  of  beautiful  macaw- 
plumes.  Yet  these  wild  tribes  have  not  a  single  iron  tool  to 
work  with.  We  hint  our  desire  to  buy  the  arrows,  but  our 
host  at  once  presents  them  to  us,  and  will  hear  of  no  remu- 

This  man  at  Mongubal  is  an  Indian,  almost  pure-blooded 
it  would  seem,  but   for   a  wonder  he  is  engaged   in  manu- 

*  I  regret  to  say  that  these  arrows  were  lost,  else  I  would  describe  them  more 
carefully  and  give  a  drawing.  I  never  saw  finer  workmanship  on  any  savage 

244  BRAZIL. 

facturing  bricks  and  shipping  them  to  Itaituba ;  the  place 
shows  many  signs  of  thrift.  Besides  the  arrows,  he  gives 
us  two  beautiful  diorite  axe-heads  from  the  black  land  near 
by ;  finally,  he  invites  us  to  an  excellent  breakfast,  with 
beef  from  his  own  herd,  and  vegetables  from  his  farm.  The 
two  or  three  other  farmers  at  this  place  are  engaged  in 
tobacco-raising.  They  are  industrious  people  and  good- 
natured,  and  we  leave  them  with  regret. 

The  river  is  still  narrowed  by  islands,  sometimes  rocky, 
oftener  low  varzea,  with  great  sand-banks  gleaming  whitely 
over  the  dark  waters.  The  main  channel  is  seldom  more  than 
two  miles  across,  and  not  very  deep  ;  the  wide  reaches  below 
were  still  like  a  lake,  but  here  there  is  a  very  perceptible 
current — in  the  wet  season  a  swift  one,  and  then  the  islands 
and  sand-banks  are  covered.  We  miss  the  steady  wind  of 
the  lower  river ;  often  our  men  have  to  paddle  for  hours, 
and  the  breeze,  when  it  does  come,  is  in  dangerous  puffs.  In 
the  afternoon  we  are  overtaken  by  a  heavy  storm.  Ricardo 
sees  it  and  gets  the  sail  down  in  time,  but  our  little  canoe 
rocks  and  tosses  about  alarmingly,  and  torrents  of  rain  drench 
us  all  to  the  skin.  After  this  burst,  the  clouds  keep  up  a 
steady  drizzle  until  night.  Wet  and  tired,  we  seek  shelter  at 
a  solitary  house,  but  the  negro  occupant  declares  that  his 
master  is  absent,  and  he  cannot  let  us  sleep  here.  This  looks 
inhospitable,  with  the  rain  increasing,  and  the  wet  beach 
without  a  tree  to  swing  our  hammocks  from.  We  expostu- 
late, and  at  length  obtain  permission  to  occupy  a  muddy 
kitchen  back  of  the  house ;  so  we  pass  the  night  uncomfort- 
ably enough,  and  are  not  sorry  to  leave  in  the  morning. 
Servants,  left  in  charge  of  houses,  are  always  afraid  to  enter- 
tain travellers  ;  this  is  almost  the  only  exception  to  the  rule 
of  country  hospitality. 

THE   TAPAJOS.  245 

There  are  no  more  of  the  white  clay-diffs  along  this  part 
of  the  river.  We  have  passed  from  these  comparatively 
modern  formations  to  old  rocks — Carboniferous,  and  perhaps 
Devonian,  with  black  diorite  here  and  there.  At  Ipapichuna 
there  are  limestone  cliffs,  where  we  find  many  poorly  pre- 
served fossils,  and,  in  one  thin  layer,  very  good  ones  :  Pro- 
diicti  and  Streptoi'JiyncJii,  all  washed  out  by  the  action  of  the 
water,  and  just  attached  to  the  lower  surfaces  of  great  slabs. 
We  break  up  a  number  of  these  ;  our  men  get  interested  in 
the  work,  though  they  do  not  understand  it  at  all,  and  when 
we  have  obtained  all  that  we  can  from  the  shore  they  go 
diving  after  other  slabs  in  the  clear  water  below,  where  we 
would  never  have  noticed  them.* 

It  takes  us  half  a  day  to  collect  and  pack  our  fossils,  the 
drizzling  rain  still  falling,  and  Ave  thoroughly  wet.  However, 
the  sun  comes  out  gayly  at  noon,  and  we  push  on,  stopping 
now  and  then  to  examine  rocks  along  shore  ;  the  channel 
less  than  a  mile  wide,  but  there  are  smaller  ones  beyond  the 
islands.  Toward  night  a  fine  breeze  comes  up,  and  so  we 
dash  across  to  ItaitiLba,  term  of  our  voyage.  We  are  nearly 
a  hundred  and  fifty  miles  from  Santarem.f 

A  long  row  of  whitewashed  and  tile-covered  houses,  with 
a  pebbly  beach  in  front,  and  the  dark  forest  behind  ;  the  set- 
ting sun  tinges  the  land  with  mellow  crimson,  and  glows  on 
the  rippling  water.  So  Nature  seems  at  peace,  and  you  for- 
get that  Itaituba  owes  its  origin  to  bloody  war.  During  the 
rebellion  of  the  Cabanaes,  in  1835,  the  place  was  used  as  a 

*  The  fossils  are  similar  to  those  of  Itaituba,  described  by  Profs.  Hartt  and 
Derby.     See  their  reports :   Bulletin  Cornell  University  (Science),  vol.  i.  No.  i. 

+  233  kilometres,  according  to  Tavares,  who  is  probably  the  best  authority  j 
Chandless  makes  it  176  miles,  and  Barboza  Rodriguez  gives  2,1  Brazilian  leagues, 
which  would  correspond  to  128  English  miles,  nearly. 

246  BRAZIL. 

rendezvous  of  loyal  citizens  and  Mundurucu  Indians  ;  from 
a  temporary  camp  it  became  a  fixed  settlement ;  and  in  1856 
it  received  a  village  charter.  The  municipality  includes  all 
the  Tapajos  region  above  this  point,  to  the  confines  of  Matto 
Grosso  :  a  sufficiently  extended  territory,  containing,  proba- 
bly, ten  or  fifteen  thousand  inhabitants,"^  besides  wandering 
Indian  tribes.  Only  a  few  hundred  of  these  are  whites  ;  the 
rest  are  largely  Mundurucu  and  Maue  Indians,  only  par- 
tially civilized.  Itaituba  itself  is  composed  of  some  fifty 
houses, f  the  half  of  them  very  well  made  of  adobe  or 
brick,  and  forming  this  line  fronting  the  river  ;  the  rest  are 
palm-thatched  huts.  The  village,  and  all  this  part  of  the 
Tapajos,  are  unhealthy  at  times  ;  in  the  dry  season  the  water 
is  really  poisonous,  though  it  is  as  clear  and  bright  as 
crystal ;  intermittent  fevers  are  prevalent  during  the  rains. 

At  Itaituba  we  pass  ten  days  pleasantly,  exploring  the 
vicinity  for  fossils,  and  getting  acquainted  in  the  village 
itself  Of  the  score  of  white  families  here,  the  most  are 
engaged  in  trade  ;  there  are  seven  well- filled  shops,  and 
ten  or  twelve  trading  canoes  are  sent  out  from  time  to 
time  ;  of  course,  very  little  of  their  custom  depends  on 
the  village  itself.  The  canoes  make  voyages  far  up  among 
the  rapids  of  the  Tapajos,  bartering  for  rubber  and  drugs 
with  the  Mundurucus.  Sometimes  parties  come  down  from 
these  upper  settlements  to  trade  at  the  villages  ;  large, 
stout-looking  Indians,  the  older  men  and  women  often  tat- 
tooed with  black  about  the  face  and  body,  in  a  kind  of  lat- 

"  7.873  by  the  census  of  1872  ;  but  very  little  reliance  can  be  placed  on  this.  Sr. 
Penna  (1868)  calculates  30,000  souls. 

t  Barboza  Rodriguez  says  37,  and  immediately  after  he  gives  the  population  of  the 
place  (following  the  census,  no  doubt)  at  1,573  persons.  This,  probably,  includes 
the  vicinity  for  miles  around.     The  village  itself  has  about  200  inhabitants. 

THE   TAPAJUS.  247 

tice-work  pattern.  Some  of  them  speak  Portuguese  very 
well ;  others  understand  only  the  universal  lingua  geraly  or 
their  own  Mundurucu  dialect.  The  merchants  speak  in 
high  praise  of  these  Indians  ;  they  are  honest  and  faithful, 
the  firm  friends  of  the  whites,  and  the  most  industrious 
people  on  the  river.  We  hear  quite  another  story  of  the 
Maues  tribe.  ^^  Basta  0  iwuic,''  says  one  ;  **  viciu  r'"  (Maue) : 
"The  name  is  enough:  he's  bad."  So  they  are  bad,  dirty 
and  dishonest,  and  lazy  to  the  last  degree  ;  yet  this  tribe 
seems  to  be  an  offshoot  of  the  Mundurucus,  disinherited,  we 
may  suppose,  because  of  its  irredeemable  shiftlessness.*  At 
present,  the  two  tribes  are  inveterate  enemies,  and  often  at 
war  with  each  other. 

Life  at  Itaituba  is  as  free  and  unceremonious  as  possible. 
We  hardly  ever  see  a  black  coat  ;  of  an  evening  the  men 
sit  in  front  of  their  houses  in  their  shirt-sleeves,  smoking, 
and  enjoying  the  cool  air,  as  we  have  seen  at  Santarem. 
Then,  and  sometimes  at  night,  they  play  at  cards,  always  for 
money,  and  frequently  the  stakes  are  pretty  high.  Every- 
body gambles  here,  from  the  Indians  and  negroes  to  the 
thriving  merchants.  Groups  form  in  the  stores  during  the 
day  ;  after  dinner  the  men  stroll  about,  playing  with  this  ac- 
quaintance or  that ;  we  see  a  lady  of  good  family  sitting  at 
her  window,  and  playing  with  a  gentleman  in  the  street, 
while  her  husband,  near  by,  is  playing  with  somebody  else. 
A  tall  mulatto  —  professional  gambler  and  known  blackleg 
— is  fleecing  all  the  young  clerks  ;  if  we  start  on  an  early 
canoe-excursion,  we  see  lights  still  shining  in  his  windows, 
where  he  has  been  playing  all  night.  '•'  Do  you  play?"  he 
asks.     **  No  ?    That  is  the  greatest  mistake  in  your  character. 

*  This  is  the  tradition  ;  but  the  languages  are  quite  distinct.     Both  are  allied  to 
the  Tupi. 

248  BRAZIL. 

Now  let  me  teach  you  one  little  game."  But  happily  we  are 
proof  against  his  blandishments,  and  our  money  remains  in 
our  pockets.  It  must  be  said  of  the  Itaitubans  that  their 
gambling  is  good-natured.  With  them  it  is  "quick  come, 
quick  go  ;  "  they  make  money  easily  by  their  trading,  and 
spend  it  easily  in  this  way.  We  remark  that  the  place  has 
no  church,  though  there  has  been  one  in  course  of  construc- 
tion for  some  years  ;  possibly  a  good  priest  might  weed  out 
this  vice,  but  in  general  the  priests  gamble  quite  as  readily 
as  their  parishioners.  An  irreverent  acquaintance  of  mine 
spent  all  of  one  Sunday  afternoon,  behind  a  village  church, 
playing  cards  with  the  priest,  for  a  vintein  the  game  ! 

The  beach  at  Itaituba  is  strewn  with  fragments  of  lime- 
stone, and  not  a  few  well-preserved  fossils  ;  in  great  bowlders 
lying  near  we  get  other  fossils,  but  by  dint  of  much  pound- 
ing with  the  sledge,  for  the  rock  is  abominably  hard.  The 
"banks  farther  down  are  fringed  with  beautiful  open  woods  ; 
back  of  the  village  these  woods  extend  for  a  little  distance 
inland,  and  thence  there  are  campos,  with  scattered  trees  of 
three  or  four  species,  extending  northward  and  westward 
some  miles,  to  the  high  forest  beyond.  All  along  the  Lower 
Tapajos  you  will  find  occasional  small  tracts  of  campo,  either 
sandy,  like  that  of  Santarem  and  Alter  do  Chao,  or  stony,  or 
argillaceous,  like  this  at  Itaituba.  Generally,  these  campos 
occupy  ground  near  the  level  of  the  river  ;  they  may  be 
looked  upon  as  fragments  of  the  great  campifias  far  above 
the  falls,  and  the  still  more  extensive  open  lands  of  Central 

We  make  one  excursion  above  the  village  to  the  little 
Igarapc  Bom  Jar  dim.  The  mouth  of  the  igarape  is  about 
two  miles  from  Itaituba,  and  on  the  same  side  of  the  river ; 
it  is  a  sluggish  creek,  with  unwholesome  water,  stained  black 

THE   TAPAJOS.  249 

with  vegetable  matter.  A  little  way  up,  there  is  a  lime-kiln, 
and  extensive  quarries  have  been  made,  whence  the  rock  is 
shipped  to  Santarem.  Still  farther  on,  the  creek  is  winding 
and  narrow,  with  limestone  ledges  here  and  there,  and  little 
caves,  where,  during  the  floods,  the  softer  layers  have  been 
dissolved  away.  Crawling  into  one  of  these  caves,  we  pick 
up  a  few  delicate  silicified  fossils  on  the  ground,  and  pres- 
ently discover  that  the  roof  above  is  studded  with  them,  all 
washed  out  cleanly,  and  just  attached  to  the  rock,  so  that 
they  are  ready  to  drop  at  the  slightest  jar.  There  is  a  shout 
at  this  ;  but  we  are  almost  afraid  to  touch  the  beautiful 
things  ;  slender  spines  and  processes  are  as  perfect  as  they 
were  when  the  shells  were  buried  in  calcareous  mud.*  We 
gather  hundreds  of  them  here  and  in  the  other  caves  ;  fine, 
large  Proditcti  and  Spirifers,  and  little  StropJialosice  all  cov- 
ered with  hair-like  spines,  and  numbers  of  other  species  that 
must  be  studied  with  care,  for  many  of  them  are  new  to  sci- 
ence. The  igarape  itself  is  by  no  means  a  pleasant  stream  ; 
the  waters  smell  strongly  of  sulphuretted  hydrogen,  and  they 
swarm  with  great  alligators.  We  try  to  push  beyond  the 
caves,  but  come  to  a  cul-dc-sac  in  a  swamp.  Along  the 
Tapajos  above  here  there  are  great  cliffs  of  the  limestone, 
conspicuous  for  miles  up  and  down.  The  Brazilians  call 
these  cliffs  Parcddo^  Great  Wall  ;  we  find  no  caves,  and 
no  silicified  fossils,  but  one  layer  contains  numbers  of  little 
spiral  shells,  MurcJiisonicB  and  Pleurotoniarice ^  of  which  we 
gather  great  numbers. 

'*  I  describe  the  caves  as  they  were  when  Mr.  Staunton  and  I  discovered  them  in 
1870 ;  since  then  the  locahty  has  been  pretty  thoroughly  exhausted  by  three  Ameri- 
can expeditions,  and  a  Brazihan  one  (Barboza  Rodriguez).  Mr.  Derby  described 
these  shells  (Coal  Measure),  and  showed  great  skill  in  dissolving  the  limestone  with 
acid,  so  as  to  expose  the  most  minute  interior  structures.  Mr.  Chandless  found 
similar  caves  on  the  Maue-assu. 

250  BRAZIL. 

Itaituba  is  at  the  head  of  steamboat  navigation.  Twenty 
miles  above  here,  the  water  is  foaming  over  rocks  at  the 
Maranhdo-zinho ;  above  that  there  are  other  and  greater 
falls  and  rapids,  a  long  series,  with  intervals  of  still  water,  to 
the  sources  of  the  Tapajos  in  the  rivers  Arinos  and  Juruana, 
between  lats.  14°  and  15°  S.*  Here  also  the  Rio  de  la  Plata 
takes  its  source.  The  maps  will  have  it  that  there  is  a  chain 
of  mountains  forming  the  divide,  but  in  truth  there  is  only 
an  elevated  plain,  "  a  taholeiro  or  cJiapada,^^  says  Chandless, 
**  hardly  varying  in  its  general  elevation,  but  cut  through 
deeply  by  the  rivers.  Near  these  there  is  more  or  less  virgin 
forest;  all  the  rest  is  campo,  pasture-lands  more  or  less 
densely  sown  with  trees.  The  chapada  is  cut  down  steeply, 
sometimes  precipitately,  the  plain  below  appearing  like  a  sea, 
with  bays  and  deep  creeks.  At  the  foot  of  the  chapada,  in 
one  of  these  bays,  is  the  village  of  Diamantina."  The  Para- 
guay flows  from  the  sides  of  the  chapada,  ten  or  twelve  miles 
southwest  of  Diamantina  ;  and  the  Rio  Preto,  affluent  of  the 
Arinos,  is  ten  miles  to  the  eastward  of  the  village.  But  the 
two  great  rivers  approach  each  other  even  more  closely,  as 
Castelnau  has  recorded : 

"  The  Fazenda  do  Estivado,  where  we  are  resting,  is  situated  at  one 
of  the  most  curious  points  on  this  continent.  Here,  only  a  few  paces 
apart,  spring  the  fountains  of  the  two  greatest  rivers  in  the  world,  the 
Amazons  and  the  Plata.  Some  day  it  will  be  easy  to  establish  a  com- 
munication between  them  ;  for  our  host  tells  us  that  he  thinks  of  con- 
veying the  water  of  one  river  by  a  canal  to  the  other,  only  to  water  his 
garden.  The  fountain-head  of  the  Rio  Estivado,  true  trunk  of  the 
Arinos,  is  in  a  hollow  of  the  chapada,  where  it  is  inclined  to  the  north, 

*  According  to  R.  F.  de  Almeida  Serra,  the  source  of  the  Juruana  is  in  lat.  14° 
42'  30"  S. ,  and  long.  60^  43'  W.  G.  The  village  of  Diamantina,  according  to 
Chandless,  is  in  14°  24'  33"  S.  lat.  and  56°  8'  30"  long.  W.  G.  ;  the  sources  of  the 
Arinos  lie  from  ten  to  fifty  miles  almost  directly  east  of  that  point. 



two  hundred  metres  east  from  the  house,  and  in  a  grove  of  miriti 
pahns.  Eighty-four  metres  west  of  the  same  house  appears  the  source 
of  the  Tombador,  a  tributary  of  the  Cuyaba.  Near  the  Fazenda  do 
Macu,  during  floods,  the  water  flows  down  a  valley,  and  then  divides  so 
that  a  portion  descends  to  the  Cuyaba  and  the  rest  to  the  Tapajds." 

Through  all  this  series  of  rapids,  canoes  can  be  pushed 
and  dragged  to  the  Arinos,  and  so  to  the  Rio  Preto.  within 
fourteen  miles  of  Diamantina  ;    only  some  high  falls  must  be 

Ascending  the  Rapids. 

passed  by  land,  pulling  the  canoe  over  poles  placed  across 
the  path.  In  fact,  some  canoes  do  make  this  voyage  every 
year ;  and  they  are  even  dragged  by  land  to  the  Paraguay, 
whence  they  can  go  on  to  the  Plata.      Chandless  attests  this  : 

''  From  time  to  time,  when  the  waters  are  highest,  canoes  have  passed 
over  the  water-shed  ;  while  I  was  in  Diamantina,  one  with  a  cargo  of 
fifteen  hundred  arrobas  (thirty-two  pounds  each),  which  had  come  from 
near  Santarcm,  crossed  and  descended  the  Paraguay  to  \'illa  Maria." 

252  BRAZIL. 

Perilous  work  it  is,  passing  the  rapids,  wading  in  the  swift 
currents,  dragging  the  boat  with  long  lines  and  pushing  it 
with  poles.  Barboza  Rodriguez's  description  of  the  Coata 
cachoeira  is  worth  translating  : 

*'  At  nine  o'clock  we  were  in  front  of  the  first  fall,  which  appeared  to 
me  to  be  insurmountable.  Here  there  was  a  large  canoe,  belonging  to 
a  merchant ;  it  was  unloaded,  and  fast  among  the  rocks,  where  it  had 
been  for  eight  days  washed  by  the  water.  Leaving  my  own  canoe  in  a 
little  harbor,  I  ordered  my  men  to  help  drag  the  merchant's  out  of  its 
perilous  position,  and  get  it  through  the  rapids.  It  was  on  the  rocks 
which  form  the  first  or  great  fall  of  the  Coata,  near  the  right  bank. 
The  two  crews  worked  together,  part  of  them  jumping  into  the  water, 
and  the  others  going  ahead  with  long  lines  of  sipo  attached  to  the  canoe. 
Accustomed  to  this  kind  of  work,  the  Indians  paid  little  heed  to  the  cur- 
rents, bathing  and  diving  now  and  then,  and  evidently  enjoying  them- 
selves. The  lines  were  secured  to  rocks  above  ;  my  pilot  took  the  helm, 
and  the  men  in  the  water  lifted  the  canoe  with  all  their  might,  some  with 
their  backs,  others  with  their  hands,  while  others  still  were  pulling  on 
the  line.  After  two  hours  of  terribly  hard  work,  they  managed  to  get 
the  boat  off  the  rocks,  and  it  would  have  been  washed  down  at  once,  but 
for  the  line.  The  men  jumped  aboard  and  the  line  was  cast  off;  they 
shot  down  with  incredible  velocity,  but  obedient  to  the  helm,  which  my 
pilot  handled  most  dexterously.  Crossing  the  river,  they  sought  a  pass- 
age on  the  other  side  of  the  rapids,  where,  if  the  current  was  heavier, 
there  were  no  rocks  in  the  way.  Here,  as  before,  long  lines  were  thrown 
out  ahead  and  attached  to  rocks  ;  the  men,  working  over  their  waists  in 
the  current,  dragged  and  lifted  the  canoe,  and  so  pushed  it  along  slowly. 
Thus,  in  half  an  hour,  they  had  passed  the  first  fall  to  a  little  pool  above. 
Shouts  of  joy  crowned  the  passage  ;  then,  dragging  on  a  line,  they  passed 
the  rapids  beyond  without  much  difficulty,  and  the  canoe  was  brought  to 
anchor  by  the  sand-beach  to  which  the  cargo  had  been  carried.  De- 
scending over  the  rocks,  the  men  pulled  my  canoe  up  in  the  same  man- 
ner, but  with  less  difficulty,  as  it  was  much  smaller." 

The  Indians  employed  in  this  dangerous  work  are  Mun- 
duruciis,  from  the  villages  near  the  rapids  ;  sometimes  also 


the  Maues,  but  they  are  less  reliable.  On  the  Arinos  and 
Upper  Tapajos,  the  Appiacas  take  their  place ;  a  half-savage 
agricultural  tribe,  inhabiting  the  open  lands  of  Matto  Grosso. 
The  Arinos  itself  is  narrow  and  has  many  rapids  ;  the  Rio 
Preto,  by  which  canoes  reach  Diamantina,  is  a  mere  creek, 
often  obstructed  by  fallen  trees  lying  across  it. 

If  the  Munduruciis  and  Maues  are  faithful  friends  to  the 
whites,  they  are  none  the  less  savages,  carrying  on  wars 
after  their  own  manner  against  the  hated  Parentintins,  and 
hardly  employing  the  European  dress  except  near  Itaituba. 
As  we  have  seen,  there  are  a  few  haif-civilized  villages  be- 
low here,  and  one  or  two  above.  Within  the  falls  region 
there  is  a  mission  village,  called  Bacabal ;  it  was  established 
in  1870  by  two  Italian  Capuchin  missionaries,  who  began 
their  work  at  a  little  Mundurucu  village,  baptizing  the  In- 
dians and  training  them  to  agricultural  employments  ;  some 
seven  hundred,  they  say,  are  gathered  at  this  place,  and  sev- 
enty children  attend  the  priests'  school.  All  this  is  sharply 
opposed  by  the  rubber- traders,  who  get  no  profit  from  an 
agricultural  community ;  they  entice  the  Indians  away  to 
the  rubber-swamps,  and  incite  them  against  the  missiona- 
ries. Perhaps  there  is  another  side  to  the  story  ;  they  say 
that  the  priests  are  harsh  and  exacting,  turning  the  labor  of 
the  parishioners  to  their  own  profit,  and  trading  with  goods 
which  they  bring  up  the  river.  In  1876  some  of  the  Mundu- 
rucu chiefs  went  down  to  Para,  to  complain  to  the  President 
of  these  real  or  supposed  wrongs  ;  very  little  attention  was 
paid  to  them,  and  they  went  back  ill-pleased.  As  they  were 
coming  up  the  Tapajos  on  the  steamer,  one  of  them  flew 
into  a  rage  and  declared  that  he  would  die  sooner  than  go 
back  to  Frei  Pelino.  His  companions  tried  to  pacify  him,  but 
he,  it  would  seem,  was  really  insane  on  the  subject ;  as  the 

254  BRAZIL. 

Steamer  passed  the  deep  waters  below    Itaituba,   he    threw 
himself  under  the  paddle-wheels  and  was  drowned.* 

The  missionaries  are  far  away  beyond  the  falls,  and  we 
have  no  means  of  judging  of  their  conduct,  whether  it  be 
good  or  bad  ;  it  would  be  unfair  to  rely  on  the  accounts  of 
their  sworn  enemies.  But  it  is  certain  that  the  traders  are 
as  bad  here  as  they  are  elsewhere  ;  beyond  the  reach  of  law, 
they  can  cheat  and  tyrannize  as  they  please.  Some  good 
ones  there  are,  merchants  in  Itaituba,  who  send  canoes  above 
the  rapids  to  trade.  A  little  salsaparilla  is  brought  down,  and 
there  are  plenty  of  other  valuable  products,  but  rubber- 
gathering  absorbs  all  labor,  as  it  does  everywhere  else.  The 
trees  grow  on  swampy  islands  and  on  the  shores  ;  the  Mun- 
duruciis,  especially,  gather  the  gum  in  immense  quantities, 
and  sell  it  to  the  traders,  or  bring  it  to  Itaituba.  The  rub- 
ber is  taken  in  exchange  for  clothes,  knives,  fish-hooks,  etc., 
and  money  is  hardly  known  above  the  falls.  Of  course,  the 
Indians  are  kept  in  debt  to  the  merchant,  and  the  merchant  to 
the  exporter  ;  an  inverted  pyramid,  all  resting  on  the  Indian 
workman  at  the  point.  The  pyramid  is  nicely  balanced ; 
take  care,  gentlemen,  that  it  does  not  topple  over  and  leave 
you  to  support  the  weight  of  this  poor  class,  which  may 
grow  to  be  a  colossus,  as  it  did  in  1835. 

The  canoes  for  Diamantina  and  Cuyaba  go  loaded  with 
guar  and,  a  drug  that  is  much  used  in  the  central  provinces,  f 
It  is  obtained  almost  exclusively  from  the  Maue  Indians, 
though  the  other  tribes  make  it  in  small  quantities.  The 
guarana-shrub:};  grows  wild  in  the  forests  between  the  Ta- 
pajos  and    the    Madeira  ;    but  the  Maues  cultivate  it  about 

*  I  had  this  from  an  eye-witness. 

t  The  Bolivians  also  receive  large  quantities  by  way  of  the  Madeira. 

\  Paulinia  sorbilis. 

THE   TAPAJOS.  255 

their  houses,  on  the  rich  black  land,  where  it  bears  well  in 
three  or  four  years.  The  fruit  is  best  gathered  in  Novem- 
ber ;  it  has  an  outer  shell,  containing  pulp  and  seeds,  the 
latter  in  cases  of  their  own.  This  outer  shell  is  removed, 
and  the  seeds  are  washed  and  dried  in  the  sun  ;  the  inner 
shell  is  then  beaten  off,  and  the  seeds  are  reduced  to  fine 
powder  in  a  wooden  mortar.  Water  is  added,  twelve  or 
fourteen  spoonfuls  to  a  pound  of  the  seeds,  and  the  whole 
is  kneaded  into  a  thick  dough  and  formed  into  long  rolls  ; 
these  are  dried  in  the  hot  sunshine  or  over  a  fire.  The  cakes 
so  formed  are  very  much  like  chocolate  in  appearance. 
Sometimes  the  Indians  make  them  in  the  forms  of  differ- 
ent fishes,  birds,  turtles,  etc.,  or  canes  ornamented  with 
leaves  ;  the  imitations  are  really  very  clever,  showing  more 
artistic  skill  than  these  people  have  credit  for. 

In  the  fruiting  season,  each  person  can  prepare  from  one 
hundred  and  fifty  to  three  hundred  pounds  of  guarana.* 
About  seventy-five  cents  per  pound  is  paid  for  it  in  the 
Maues  country,  and  ninety  cents  at  Para  ;  in  Matto  Grosso 
it  commands  a  high  price.  There,  and  in  Bolivia,  guarana  is 
used  as  a  substitute  for  tea  ;  it  is  grated  from  the  rolls  as  re- 
quired, and  dissolved  in  cold  water.  The  Indians  themselves 
use  it  in  large  quantities,  as  a  preventive  of  fevers.  It  has 
been  introduced  into  our  own  materia  medica,  being  em- 
ploj'-ed  to  especial  advantage  in  headaches  and  disorders  of 
the  stomach.  It  might  be  used  in  place  of  quinine,  for  inter- 
mittent fevers. 

The  Tapajos  is  about  twelve  hundred  miles  long,  but  its 
size  has  been  greatly  overrated  ;  at  the  lower  falls  it  is  hardly 
half  a  mile  wide,  and  not  very  deep.      All  this  broad  lower 

Penna*  A  Regiao  Occidental  da  Provincia  do  Para,  p.  201. 

256  BRAZIL. 

course  is,  then,  simply  a  lake,  through  which  the  river  flows  ; 
the  current  is  barely  perceptible.  In  the  dry  season  the 
tides  are  felt  even  to  Itaituba,  and  Mr.  Bates  observed  them 
on  a  branch  of  the  Cupary,  far  above  its  mouth.  The  river 
cannot  fill  up  this  lake,  because  it  brings  down  no  mud  from 
the  clean  rocks  and  sand  above.  The  sand  does  come  down 
in  pretty  large  quantities,  and  it  has  formed  the  islands  be- 
tween Itaituba  and  Aveiros.  As  we  descend  in  the  little 
steamboat  Inca,  the  captain  points  out  sand-shallows  here 
and  there  ;  the  navigable  channel  zigzags  across  the  lake, 
growing  deeper  and  deeper  toward  Santarem.  It  is  well  for 
us  to  remember  these  features  of  the  Tapajos ;  we  must  re- 
turn to  the  river  by  and  by. 



AT  eight  o'clock  in  the  evening,  we  pass  from  the  black 
Tapajos  to  the  clay-stained  Amazons  :  the  dividing- 
line  plainly  visible,  even  in  the  pale  moonlight.  Our  Indian 
paddlers  pause  for  a  moment,  and  cross  themselves  devoutly ; 
looking  back,  we  can  just  see  glinting  lights  at  Santarem  ;  a 
few  low  bushes  and  dark  patches  of  grass  mark  the  junction 
of  the  two  rivers,  and  there  is  a  shallow  extending  far  be- 
low this  point.  The  night  is  calm  and  pleasant,  but  driving 
clouds  across  the  moon  portend  a  high  wind  for  to-morrow. 
With  coats  buttoned  tightly  under  our  chins,  we  sit  before 
the  little  thatched  cabin,  silent,  because  the  scene  and  the 
time  tend  to  silence  ;  the  men  handle  their  paddles  quickly 
but  almost  noiselessly,  keeping  us  in  the  middle  current. 
After  awhile  they  start  a  wild  melody,  half  song,  half  chant ; 
the  steersman  improvising  a  line  or  two,  and  the  others  join- 
ing in  the  chorus,  keeping  time  to  the  dip  of  their  paddles  : 

"  Oh  !  when  shall  I  come  to  my  own  land?  " 

sings  Joao.  He  tells  of  his  mother,  weeping  there  for  him  ; 
of  his  sister,  whose  eyes  are  as  bright  as  stars,  whose  voice  is 
as  sweet  and  sad  as  the  song  of  the  cardchtie  :  "When  shall 
I  see  you  ?  "  he  cries  ;  ''  When  shall  I  come  to  my  own  land 

258  BRAZIL. 

and  be  at   rest  ? "      Then    follows    the    chorus,  long    drawn, 

moaning : 

'^Leiy  lei,  lei,  cur  a  lei,  Maria  lei-u^  * 

The  paddles  fall  in  perfect  unison,  a  part  of  the  song  and  the 

After  an  hour,  we  reach  the  point  of  Urnbucnacd,  where 
two  crreat  channels  of  the  Amazons  unite  at  the  lower  end  of 
Ilha  Grande  de  Santai^eni.  We  have  been  descending  the 
southern  branch  ;  here  we  leave  it  and  begin  to  ascend  the 
northern  one,  keeping  close  to  the  shore  now,  to  take  ad- 
vantage of  the  still  water.  This  north  and  south  channel, 
rather  less  than  the  other,  is  called,  for  distinction,  the  Ama- 
zonas  de  Paj'acary,  or  sometimes  Aniazonas  d' Alenqiier ,  or 
again  Uriibticuacd,  from  the  point.  The  canoemen  always 
indicate  divisions  of  the  river,  but  the  names  are  not  well 

The  moon  is  hidden  and  the  wind  is  rising  ;  thousands  of 
mosquitoes  gather  about  the  canoe,  lighting  on  our  faces, 
fifty  at  a  time,  flying  into  our  eyes,  mouths,  ears,  piping  de- 
rision at  our  feeble  warfare,  though  we  kill  a  dozen  at  a  slap. 
We  wish  that  the  moon  would  come  back  ;  that  the  wind 
would  blow  a  tempest,  to  sweep  them  away.  The  men  slap 
their  bare  feet  at  every  pull,  but  keep  to  their  work  good- 
naturedly.  W^e  crawl  on,  slowly  enough,  with  the  wind 
almost  dead  against  us,  and  the  current  in-shore  nearly  two 
miles  an  hour.  One  is  cramped  and  restless  in  a  canoe,  at 
best ;  we  are  tired  and  sleepy,  and  the  mosquitoes  are  tortur- 
ing, and  the  quiet  evening  is  forgotten.  So  it  goes  with 

*  I  give  this  chorus  just  as  I  heard  it :  a  common  one  among  the  canoemen.  The 
word  Maria  may  indicate  its  origin  in  some  hymn  ;  but  the  words  are  neither  Portu- 
guese nor  Tupi,  and  the  men  could  not  translate. 

THE   NORTH   SHORE.  259 

At  two  o'clock  in  the  morning,  the  wind  is  blowing 
stronger  than  ever,  and  we  are  almost  at  a  standstill.  We 
see  a  house  on  the  shore  :  deserted  dwelling  of  some  cacao- 
planter,  who  comes  here  only  in  the  fruiting  season.  Further 
progress  being  out  of  the  question,  we  land,  and  force  open 
the  wooden  door  with  some  difficulty,  scrambling  in  and 
shutting  it  as  quickly  as  possible,  to  bar  out  the  mosquitoes. 
Enough  have  entered  to  make  us  thoroughly  uncomfortable 
for  the  rest  of  the  night,  and  more  are  coming  through- crevi- 
ces of  the  palm-thatch  above.  We  grope  about  in  the  dark- 
ness, until  we  find  places  to  tie  our  hammocks  ;  then  we 
cover  our  faces  and  hands,  as  well  as  we  can,  and  sleep  and 
toss  alternately  until  morning.  How  we  long  for  the  clean 
sand-beaches  of  the  Tapajos,  where  mosquitoes  are  almost 
unknown!  But,  at  all  events,  the  Amazons  is  a  healthy 
river,  and  decidedly  the  Tapajos  is  not. 

In  the  morning  the  prospect  is  grand,  but  most  dis- 
couraging. Great,  yellow  waves  are  rolling  down  the  river ; 
wind  dead  ahead  still,  and  blowing  a  gale.  Our  canoe,  shel- 
tered behind  a  half-sunken  log,  is  tossing  about  like  a  cork  ; 
Joao  has  never  left  it  all  night,  and  it  is  well  that  he  did  not, 
for  twice  it  was  near  getting  adrift.  The  men  positively  re- 
fuse to  venture  out  until  the  wind  abates  ;  so  we  make  the 
best  of  our  situation,  and  pick  up  what  enjoyment  we  can 
from  the  desolate  surroundings.  We  are  on  a  patch  of  dry 
land,  just  raised  above  the  low  tract  behind.  An  impas- 
sable strip  of  swampy  forest  extends  along  the  shore  on 
either  side.  We  wander  a  little  way  back  over  the  mead- 
ows, but  are  stopped  by  muddy  pools  and  thickets  of  mi- 
mosas and  caladiums.  So  we  are  reduced  to  the  house  and 
the  cacao-plantation  ;  the  former  is  a  mere  hut,  with  clay 
walls    and    rotten    palm-leaf    thatch  ;    the    orchard    contains 



about  forty  trees,  sickly  looking,  for  the  place  is  too  low 
for  successful  planting.  On  the  opposite  shore,  two  or  three 
miles  away,  there  are  extensive  cacodes,  and  many  inhabited 
houses.  The  whole  region,  as  far  as  we  can  see,  is  low  var- 
zea  ;  this  island,  on  which  we  are  penned  (Ilha  Grande  de 
Santarem),  is  a  triangle,  twenty  miles  long  or  more,  and 
nearly  as   broad   at  the   base  ;  two-thirds   of  the   surface   is 


broken  up  by  shallow  lakes.  From  the  river  you  see  noth- 
ing of  this  ;  there  is  only  a  long  band  of  forest  skirting  the 
shore,  and  clay  banks  cut  down  sharply  to  the  water. 

By  noon  the  wind  has  abated,  and  we  are  off  again ; 
crossing  now  to  the  opposite  side,  and  following  the  shore 
of  another  great  varzea-patch,  called  Tapard.  The  forest 
extends  quite  back  to  the  centre  of  this  island  ;  along  the 

THE   NORTH   SHORE.  261 

raised  border  there  is  a  continuous  line  of  cacao-orchards, 
with  houses  here  and  there,  half-buried  among  the  trees. 
After  three  hours  of  hard  paddling,  we  reach  the  end  of  Ta- 
para,  and  cross  the  channel  that  divides  it  from  the  main- 
land ;  here  at  length  we  find  the  northern  terra  hrme,  a  low, 
rocky  point,  known  as  the  Barreiras  de  Paracary.  The 
point  extends  so  far  into  the  river  that  the  width  of  the  latter 
is  reduced  to  little  more  than  half  a  mile  ;  beyond  this  again, 
there  is  a  wide  reach,  where  two  great  channels  meet.  The 
main  river  is  fifteen  miles  away,  on  the  other  side  of  Ilha 
Grande  de  Santarem  ;  but  even  this  lesser  portion  must 
crowd  hard  to  get  through  such  a  narrow  gate.  The  surface 
boils  and  seethes,  and  rushes  on  like  a  mill-race.  Just  oppo- 
site the  point  there  is  a  sudden  deepening  of  the  bed,  and 
the  water  spins  down  to  it  in  a  great  whirlpool — terror  of 
the  canoemen.  In  the  flood-season  there  would  be  no  pass- 
ing on  this  side  ;  then  canoes  keep  close  to  the  opposite 
shore,  and  even  steamboats  avoid  this  dangerous  caldeirdo. 
More  than  one  boat  has  been  lost  in  it ;  great  cedro  logs, 
floating  down  the  current,  are  whirled  under,  and  only  reap- 
pear three  or  four  miles  below.  But  the  river  is  low  now, 
and  there  is  little  danger  if  we  keep  out  of  the  main  current ; 
only  we  have  much  ado  to  get  around  the  point  with  three 
paddlers,  so  strong  is  the  rush  of  water.  The  men  tell  of 
other  caldeiroes*  along  the  river;  wherever  the  channel  is 
narrowed  and  deepened,  these  whirlpools  are  formed.  There 
are  fearful  stories  connected  with  them,  and  many  of  wonder- 
ful escapes  from  their  ravenous  jaws. 

Above  the  caldeiroes  we  have  one  of  those  river-views 
that  give  an  idea  of  the  grandeur  of  this  water-system.     To 

*  Great  caldrons.     A  most  expressive  name. 

262  BRAZIL. 

the  south  and  southeast  there  are  two  open  horizons,  sepa- 
rated by  the  island  of  Tapara  ;  to  the  west,  another  great 
reach  of  sky  and  water,  with  half  a  dozen  islands  in  view  ;  to 
the  north,  a  broad  current,  sweeping  around  the  IlJia  das 
BarreiraSj  and  receiving  a  good-sized  river,  the  Curua,  before 
it  joins  the  other  channel.*  We  are  in  a  great  bend  of  the 
Amazonas  de  Paracary,  where  it  passes  around  Ilha  Grande 
de  Santarem  ;  the  northern  terra  firme  forms  a  corresponding 
bend,  but  a  still  stronger  one,  culminating  at  this  point  of  the 
Barreiras,  where  it  reaches  the  river  ;  to  the  north  of  the 
point  there  is  left  a  great  bend  of  alluvial  land,  with  two  or 
three  lakes  between  the  terra  firme  and  the  Amazons. 

The  lakes  are  hidden  by  a  border-line  of  forest ;  to  reach 
them  we  turn  into  a  narrow  igarape,  where  the  branches 
meet  overhead  in  a  glorious  arch  of  soft  green.  The  sun  is 
low  by  this  time  ;  we  see  its  lights  on  the  leaves  above,  but 
the  water  flows  darkly  beneath,  and  the  forest  on  either  side 
is  all  in  shade.  The  igarape  is  not  more  than  half  a  mile 
long.  Emerging  from  the  forest,  we  turn  first  through  a 
bright  meadow,  and  then  into  Lake  Paracary ,f  where  we 
must  find  our  way  yet  through  floating  grass-patches,  and 
shallows  reaching  half-way  across.  The  lake  extends  seven 
or  eight  miles,  north  and  south  ;  low  terra  firme  comes  down 
to  the  eastern  shore  in  a  gently  shelving  sand-beach,  with 
two  little  hills  beyond.  A  few  palm-thatched  houses  are  scat- 
tered along  the  beach  ;  this  is  the  settlement  of  Paracary,  if 
settlement  it  can  be  called  when  the  dwellings  are  often  a 

*  All  this  is  very  confusing  in  description,  but  so  is  it  confusing  to  one  who  sees 
it  for  the  first  time.  You  get  only  the  idea  of  an  archipelago  in  a  great  sea  of  muddy 

t  Named  from  an  herb  found  here  (Peltodons  rudicans),  reputed  a  remedy  for 
snake-bites  and  scorpion-stings. 



mile  apart.  We  land,  and  walk  up  to  one  of  these  houses  ; 
the  owner,  a  white  man,  clad  in  shirt  and  drawers,  comes  to 
meet  us  at  the  door,  and  very  cordially  invites  us  to  enter 
and  lounge  in  the  hammocks  while  coffee  is  prepared.  We 
explain  that  we  have  come  to  explore  the  country  beyond 
Paracary ;  meanwhile  we  are  seeking  a  shelter  for  the  night. 
On  this,   our  host  immediately  places  his  house  and  self  at 

Josh's  Family. 

our  disposal  ;  the  luggage  is  ordered  up  from  the  canoe,  and 
our  hammocks  are  swung  in  one  of  the  two  rooms  ;  thus, 
without  introduction  and  without  a  hint  of  payment,  we  are 
made  welcome  to  all  that  the  place  affords. 

He  is  a  lazy,  good-natured,  thriftless  fellow,  this  Jose  da 
Costa  ;  living  here  with  an  Indian   mistress  and  a  flock   of 

264  BRAZIL. 

children,  who  are  fed  and  clothed,  God  knows  how.  They 
have  their  little  plantations  of  mandioca  in  the  forest,  five  or 
six  miles  away,  and  Jose  and  his  son  go  on  fishing  excursions 
now  and  then  ;  but  I  fancy  that  our  supper  comes  from  his 
brother's  house  near  by.  Never  mind ;  it  will  cost  him 
nothing,  and  he  is  glad  in  his  heart  to  have  a  visitor.  We 
get  bowls  of  warm,  sweetened  milk  after  supper,  and  a  hard 
biscuit  that  Jose  has  saved  in  his  trunk  ;  at  sunset  the  chil- 
dren come  for  our  blessings,  and  kiss  their  hands  gravely ; 
the  older  people  say  **  good-night "  all  around,  and  then  go 
on  talking.  *'  Light  the  gentleman's  cigarette,"  commands 
Jose  ;  one  of  the  little  girls  takes  it  from  my  fingers,  and 
lights  it  at  the  open  fire  with  two  or  three  whiffs  from  her 
own  pretty  mouth.  We  smoke  and  chat  until  nine  o'clock, 
or  thereabouts  ;  the  doors  shut  to  keep  out  roving  mosquitoes, 
but  plenty  of  fresh  air  comes  in  through  the  thatch.  In  the 
darkness  we  can  only  see  Jose's  pipe  moving  back  and  forth 
as  he  swings  in  his  hammock.  It  goes  out  at  length,  and  we 
go  to  sleep. 

Nearly  all  the  Paracary  people  are  whites  ;  farmers  in  the 
smallest  way,  or  herdsmen  with  twenty  or  thirty  head  of  cat- 
tle ;  one  or  two  only  have  more  extensive  possessions,  and  do 
a  little  trading  besides.  Their  hospitality  is  as  unbounded  as 
their  poverty.  "  Come  in,  come  in,"  calls  one  ;  "  rest  your- 
self in  the  hammock  there  ;  it  is  warm  walking  over  the 
sands."  So  we  lounge  until  coffee  is  brought  to  us — the  host 
apologizing  that  he  has  nothing  else  to  offer.  '^  But  go,  my 
wife  ;  see  if  there  is  not  something  for  the  gentlemen."  She 
searches  the  house,  and  returns  presently  with  a  little  cala- 
bash of  honey.  **  Can  you  eat  wild  honey  ?  Go,  my  daugh- 
ter, bring  some  mandioca-meal  to  mix  with  it."  While  she 
is  gone  he  tells  of  a  tree  that  he  found  in  the  campo,  full  of 

THE   NORTH   SHORE.  265 

little  sacks,  from  which  he  filled  half  a  dozen  great  bottles. 
He  discourses  learnedly  of  bees  ;  half  a  dozen  kinds  he  knows 
that  make  excellent  honey,  and  others  that  are  less  valuable.* 
We  can  attest  to  the  goodness  of  this  which  the  daughter 
brings  in  :  little  plates  neatly  set  out  on  a  white  cloth,  with  a 
bowl  of  mandioca-meal  by  the  side.  The  wife  stands  by  dis- 
consolately. "  Now,  if  we  but  had  some  bread  for  the  gentle- 
men ;  but  come  to-morrow,  and  we  can  at  least  give  you 
some  sweet  milk  ;  you  should  drink  some  now,  but  the  cows 
are  strayed ;  and  will  you  have  another  cup  of  coffee  before 
you  go?  Run,  Joanna,  put  the  coffee-pot  on  the  fire."  And 
so  on,  and  so  on,  as  long  as  we  care  to  stay.  Time  has  so 
little  value  here  that  the  people  never  think  of  its  possible 
value  to  a  stranger. 

There  are  beautiful  walks  along  the  lake  shore  :  a  wide, 
sandy  slope  everywhere,  with  tufts  of  short  grass  and  groves 
of  javary  palms, t  pride  of  every  sand-beach  ;  besides  these,  a 
few  trees  that  are  found  only  in  such  situations :  spreading 
species,  with  splendid  crowns  of  thick,  dark  leaves.  Twenty 
yards  farther  up  the  slope  there  is  a  little  belt  of  forest,  fol- 
lowing the  curves  of  the  shores  and  streams  that  flow  into 
the  lake.  Most  of  the  trees  here  are  like  those  of  the  main 
forest,  some  are  campo  species,  and  a  few  are  peculiar.  Still 
farther  on  there  is  a  great  tract  of  sandy  campo,  precisely 
like  that  about  Santarem,  and  altogether  different  from  the 
forest ;  it  is  the  western  end  of  a  long  strip  of  similar  land, 
which  extends,  with  slight  interruptions,  almost  to  the  Atlan- 
tic. Mounted  on  the  little,  wiry,  gray  horses,  we  could  gal- 
lop across  to  the  river  Maecuru  in  three  or  four  hours ;  there 
we  would  have  low  varzea  lands  and  two  or  three  channels  to 

*  Various  species  of  Melipona,  probably.  fAstrocaryum  javary. 

266  BRAZIL. 

cross,  but  beyond,  the  road  is  clear  to  Monte  Alegre  and 
Prainha.  The  campos  extend  only  ten  or  twelve  miles  in- 
land, at  most ;  farther  north,  in  the  forests,  there  are  other 
open  tracts,  but  unlike  these  in  that  they  are  stony  and  have 
but  few  trees.  All  this  northern  region,  you  remember,  is 
modified  by  the  Guiana  mountains.  Even  at  Paracary  their 
influence  is  felt  in  the  sunny  skies  and  less  abundant  rains. 

Wandering  over  the  sandy  campos,  we  almost  forget  that 
we  are  in  the  Amazons  valley.  Here  the  trees  are  scattered 
thickly  over  the  surface,  or  gathered  in  little  clumps,  with 
bushes  about  their  roots.  They  are  low  and  spreading  and 
crooked  ;  rough-barked  for  the  most  part,  and  blackened  by 
the  yearly  fires  of  the  herdsmen.  We  notice  that  nearly  all 
of  them  are  inclined  a  little  toward  the  west,  probably  be- 
cause of  the  constant  east  winds.  Clumps  of  short,  wiry 
grass  grow  about  the  sand  :  capiin  branco  (white  grass),  rabo 
de  rapouso  (fox-tail),  and  so  on  ;  but  nothing  like  the  rich 
velvet  of  the  lowland  meadows.  The  landscape  always  re- 
minds me  of  an  old,  neglected  orchard,  where  the  trees  have 
been  left  unpruned  for  years,  and  bushes  and  weeds  have 
sprung  up  about  their  roots. 

In  the  dry  season,  the  branches  are  thinly  leaved  and 
dusty,  and  the  grass-tufts  have  dried  up.  The  sun  beats 
down  over  bare,  white  sand,  until  the  air  quivers  with  its 
heat,  and  every  half-dried  leaf  droops  on  its  stem,  and  the 
scorched  land  seems  given  up  to  desolation.  But  with  the 
first  heavy  rains  of  January  the  trees  put  on  a  new  mantle  of 
soft  green  ;  fresh  young  grass  springs  up  over  the  sands  ; 
the  east  wind  blows  merrily,  and  the  sunlight  comes  warm 
with  life,  and  the  campos  are  desolate  no  longer.  Then 
the  herds  are  driven  up  from  their  lowland  pastures,  where 
the    floods    are    covering   everything ;    the    herdsmen  gallop 

THE   NORTH   SHORE.  26/ 

across  the  plain  from  morning  till  night,  dodging  the  tree- 
clumps,  stooping  to  pass  under  low  branches,  shouting  to 
their  spunky  little  horses,  who  enjoy  the  fun  as  much  as  they 
do.  No  wonder  that  the  herdsmen  love  their  glorious, 
roving  life,  and  the  clear,  healthy  air  of  these  campos ! 

The  plants  here  are  entirely  different  from  those  of  the 
forest,  and  the  species  are  very  numerous.  There  are  cajil 
trees,*  with  bright  yellow,  pear-shaped  fruits,  full  of  a  sour, 
refreshing  juice.  On  the  end  of  each  one,  opposite  the  stem, 
there  is  a  bean-shaped  seed,  which  serves  as  a  handle  while 
you  eat  the  pulp,  and  which  is  eaten  itself  when  roasted,  tast- 
ing something  like  a  peanut  ;  but  beware  how  you  bite  the 
raw  bean,  for  it  is  full  of  acrid  juice,  which  is  a  strong  poi- 
son besides.  In  August  and  September  great  numbers  of 
the  fruits  are  gathered  and  made  into  excellent  wine,  much 
prized  for  its  medicinal  qualities. f  There  are  a  few  other 
edible  fruits  on  the  campos,  and  some  medicinal  species  ; 
certain  trees  yield  excellent  tan-bark,  or  gums,  or  resins,  but 
only  a  few  are  good  for  timber,  and  these  are  too  small  to  be 
of  much  value. 

We  find  no  palms  on  the  campo,  except  in  rocky  places 
and  along  the  campo  hills ;  there  the  prQttyjatdX  and  low 
spreading  piiiddba%  grow  abundantly,  with  cacti,  and  sword- 
leaved  bromelias  ;  but  for  the  rest,  the  vegetation  is  very 
similar  to  that  of  the  lower  ground. 

Even  the  animals  of  the  sandy  campo  are  peculiar.  Deer 
and  jaguars  wander  out  from  the  forest,  but  they  do  not  be- 
long here.     The  campo  has  its  own  deer,  veado  galheiro,  \ 

*Anacardium  occidentale.     The  West  Indian  name,  cashew,  must  come  from 
the  same  Tupi  or  Carib  word. 

t  This,  and  the  unfermented  juice,  are  used  in  Brazil  as  antisyphilitics. 

X  Cyagrus  cocoides.  §  Attalea,  sp.  |  Mazama  campestris  ? 

268  BRAZIL. 

with  branched  horns  ;  whereas  the  forest  species  have  short, 
straight  horns,  and  belong  to  another  genus.  There  are  no 
monkeys  on  the  campo,  no  wild  hogs,  nor  pacas,  nor  cotias, 
nor  ant-eaters,  nor  sloths,  nor  tapirs  ;  in  the  place  of  all  these 
we  find  only  the  galheiro  deer,  and  the  queer  little  turtle-like 
armadillos,*  which  are  never  found  in  the  forest.  We  often 
see  them  running  over  the  sands  ;  if  alarmed,  they  scamper 
to  the  nearest  hole,  or  burrow  into  the  ground,  disappearing 
in  less  time  than  you  would  imagine.  The  armadillos  are 
eaten,  often  roasted  in  the  scaly  shell,  and  the  flesh  is  very 
white  and  delicate  ;  but  the  strong,  musky  odor  is  an  objec- 
tion ;  dogs,  strange  to  say,  will  not  touch  it.  Sometimes 
the  young  ones  are  tamed,  and  they  make  very  amusing 
pets,  poking  their  inquisitive  noses  into  every  crevice,  and 
running  about  the  house  like  dogs.  There  are  scores  of 
pretty  campo  birds  :  paroquets  and  finches,  different,  in  the 
main,  from  the  forest  species  ;  and  we  see  nothing  of  the 
toucans,  and  trogons,  and  muUins  of  the  woods.  The  green 
lizards,  scuttling  across  our  path,  are  true  campo  species  ; 
the  great  black  toads  and  little  singing  tree-frogs  are  dis- 
tinct from  those  we  see  elsewhere  ;  and  the  whole  army  of 
insects  is  an  army  by  itself,  hardly  any  of  the  species  like 
those  of  the  thick  woods. 

The  space  occupied  by  these  sandy  campos  is  insignificant 
when  compared  to  the  forests  around  them.  The  question 
naturally  arises  :  Why  are  the  campos  here  ?  Why  should 
such  little  strips  be  cut  out  from  the  great  sea  of  forest,  and 
furnished  with  a  fauna  and  flora  of  their  own  ?  On  the  low- 
land we  have  seen  that  the  plants  and  animals  often  resemble 
those  of  the  highland  forest  very  closely  ;   they  belong  to  the 

*  Priodonta  gigas  ?     Tatusia,  sp.  var. 

THE   NORTH   SHORE.  269 

same  genera,  and  we  can  readily  admit  that  they  were  pro- 
duced, in  course  of  time,  by  the  adaptation  of  highland  spe- 
cies to  the  river-plain.  We  might  suppose  that  the  campo 
fauna  and  flora  were  produced,  in  the  same  way,  from  those 
of  the  forest ;  but  here  the  differences  are  too  striking  to  ad- 
mit of  such  a  supposition.  Besides,  the  forest  and  the  campo 
occupy  precisely  the  same  sandy  ground,  with  a  substratum 
of  yellow  clay.  The  campo  soil  is  drier,  because  it  is  more 
exposed  to  the  sun  ;  but  there  is  no  difference  of  level. 
Here  at  Paracary,  and  at  Santarem,  we  see  the  forest  ris- 
ing like  a  wall  from  the  open  campo  ;  the  ground  is  neither 
higher  nor  lower,  and  the  soil,  for  a  long  distance  on  either 
side  of  the  dividing-line,  is  precisely  the  same.  Why,  then, 
should  there  be  a  campo  vegetation  ?  Why  does  not  the 
forest  cover  all  ? 

On  the  Tapajos  we  saw  how  the  strips  of  campo-land 
were  continued  southward,  and  might  be  looked  upon  as 
fragments  of  the  great  campiiias  of  the  upper  river,  and  the 
still  more  extensive  plains  of  Central  Brazil.  In  fact,  cam- 
pos  very  much  like  these  occupy  an  immense  region  in  the 
provinces  of  Ceara,  Piauhy,  Pernambuco,  Bahia,  and  west- 
ward into  Goyaz  and  Matto  Grosso.  There  are  the  same 
plants,  or  closely  allied  species  :  cajtlSy  and  broad-leaved 
mafuds,  and  so  on  ;  the  same  animals  :  armadillos,  and  deer 
with  branched  horns,  and  paroquets,  and  lizards,  and  in- 
sects ;  and  this  on  a  soil  which  differs  more  from  that  of  the 
Amazonian  campo,  than  the  latter  does  from  the  forest. 

The  sandy  campos  are  isolated  strips,  generally  near  the 
rivers.  We  could  imagine  that  the  Tapajos  tracts  were  pro- 
duced from  seeds,  floated  dow^n  from  Matto  Grosso ;  but  that 
theory  would  not  account  for  these  tracts  on  the  northern 
shore  of  the  Amazons.     And  besides,  we  can  hardly  suppose 

2/0  BRAZIL. 

that  the  stunted  campo  trees  would  drive  out  the  thick,  lux- 
uriant forest-growth.  We  are,  then,  driven  to  one  conclu- 
sion. The  campos  are  the  remnants  of  an  older  fauna  and 
flora,  which  once  covered  all  this  region  of  the  Lower  Ama- 
zons, and  extended  southward  to  the  open  plains  of  Piauhy 
and  Goyaz.  Gradually  the  forest  advanced  from  the  w^est 
and  north,  encroaching  on  this  ground,  blotting  it  out  en- 
tirely in  most  places  ;  the  lower  lands,  near  the  rivers,  were 
last  covered,  because  they  were  drier  and  more  sandy,  and 
thus  better  able  to  resist  the  forest ;  but  it  is  extending  over 
them  also  ;  very  slowly,  because  the  forest-trees  will  only 
germinate  in  the  shade  ;  the  hot  campo  speedily  kills  them. 
In  low  places,  by  streams  and  along  the  river-shore,  the 
forest  often  gets  a  footing,  and  from  these  points  it  spreads 
back  to  the  other  advancing  host. 

Just  as,  with  islands  long  separated  from  a  continent,  the 
species  have  undergone  a  general  change  :  so  here  on  the 
Amazonian  campo,  we  must  look  for  distinct  species  from 
those  of  the  southern  plains  ;  but  they  will  often  be  closely 
aUied,  true  representative  forms.  It  is  certain  that  there  are 
such  forms,  but  they  must  be  carefully  studied  and  compared 
before  we  can  generalize  on  them.  Besides,  it  is  natural  to 
suppose  that  some  of  the  campo-trees  were  derived  from 
those  of  the  forest,  and  there  are,  indeed,  a  few  campo  spe- 
cies which  have  close  representatives  in  the  woods  ;  but  this 
does  not  affect  the  general  theory  at  all.  I  give  it  as  it  has 
forced  itself  upon  my  own  mind  ;  if  a  better  explanation  can 
be  found,  so  much  the  worse  for  my  theory,  for  it  must  go 
under  as  fifty  other  theories  have  done. 

These  campos  of  Paracary  are  unfit  for  cultivation  ;  *  the 

*  The  annual  burning  of  the  grass  makes  them  worse,  and  no  doubt  retards  the 
advance  of  the  forest. 

THE   NORTH   SHORE.  2/1 

forest  to  the  north  is  httle  better  along  its  edge  ;  only  two  or 
three  miles  within  the  line  the  soil  has  a  sufficient  admixture 
of  leaf-mould  for  mandioca  and  corn,  and  in  some  places 
there  is  rich  black  land,  with  ancient  pottery  like  that  along 
the  Tapajos  and  at  Taperinha.  Jose's  mandioca-plantation 
is  at  one  of  these  black-land  localities,  six  miles  from  the 
lake-shore  ;  and  thither  the  whole  family  goes  one  morning, 
we  riding  with  Jose  in  a  great,  clumsy,  wooden- wheeled  ox- 
cart, the  squeaking  of  which  may  be  heard  a  mile  away. 
The  children  have  gone  ahead  in  another  cart,  and  its  music 
is  dying  away  in  the  distance.  We  linger  behind,  alight- 
ing now  and  then  to  examine  the  campo  trees,  or  chase  after 
some  beetle  or  butterfly.  At  this  season  we  cannot  find 
many  insects  here  ;  later,  during  the  rains,  there  are  many 
beautiful  species,  though  they  are  never  so  abundant  as  in  the 
forest.  Our  finest  prize  to-day  is  a  large  cetonian  beetle,  all 
glittering  with  metallic  blue  and  gold  ;  we  have  seen  nothing 
like  him  in  the  forest,  but  he  has  cousins  on  the  southern 
plains.  Now  and  then  we  see  an  immense  black  wasp  flying 
over  the  sand,  and  smaller  species  with  prettily  colored  wings, 
purple  and  white.  Jose  calls  them  cacadores*  hunters,  and 
they  merit  the  name,  for  they  are  always  peering  and  hunting 
after  spiders,  wherewith  their  nests  are  provisioned.  Perhaps 
some  of  them  carry  ofl"  the  great  My  gales,  whose  holes  are 
abundant  in  many  places :  hairy  species,  with  bodies  two 
inches  long,  and  legs  spreading  over  five  or  six  inches. 
Some  of  the  little  spiders  are  much  more  interesting  than 
these  giants  ;  one  that  we  find,  is  not  much  bigger  than  a 
pin's  head,  but  its  nest  is  quite  a  wonder  of  insect  architec- 
ture.     It  has  only  three  lines  in  a  forked  twig  ;  two  of  these 

*  Generally  large  Pompilidas. 

2/2  BRAZIL. 

are  used  to  strengthen  the  third  line,  on  which  are  three 
Httle  balls  ;  the  upper  and  lower  balls  are  bits  of  rubbish, 
wound  with  silk  ;  the  middle  one  is  a  hollow  cone,  attached 
by  the  apex,  and  with  a  hinged  door  forming  the  base  ;  our 
spider  sits  inside  of  the  cone  and  holds  the  door  closed.  The 
whole  arrangement  appears  simply  like  stray  threads  of  silk 
and  rubbish,  such  as  you  will  find  about  any  bush  ;  no  doubt 
the  unwary  flies  see  nothing  more  in  it,  and  so  fall  a  prey  to 
their  concealed  enemy. 

Three  or  four  miles  of  this  campo-road  brings  us  to  the 
forest.  It  is  not  as  high  and  matted  as  that  of  Panema  and 
Taperinha,  but  there  is  enough  to  arch  over  the  road,  eighty 
feet  above  our  heads,  and  we  can  hardly  see  twenty  yards 
among  the  tree-trunks  on  either  side.  There  are  plenty  of 
wild  animals  here  ;  we  find  jaguar-tracks  following  the  road 
for  a  long  distance,  and  Jose  points  out  places  where  they 
show  plainly  over  the  tracks  of  the  cart  which  precedes  us  ; 
the  jaguar  must  have  passed  within  half  an  hour.  Perhaps 
our  creaking  wheels  frightened  him  away  ;  at  any  rate,  we  see 
nothing  of  him,  nor  of  any  other  animal  larger  than  a  cotia  ;  in 
an  hour  we  reach  the  little  settlement  of  Terrapreta — a  dozen 
thatched  huts,  with  clearings  here  and  there,  and  a  great, 
swampy  grass-plot  in  the  centre.  We  turn  off  to  Jose's  farm- 
house; rather  a  better  one  than  the  others.  The  children,  ar- 
rived an  hour  before,  come  for  our  blessings ;  the  tired  oxen 
are  turned  out  to  graze,  and  we  sit  down  to  our  breakfast  of 
fish  and  mandioca-meal,  spread  on  a  mat  in  lieu  of  a  table. 

The  black  land  in  this  vicinity  gives  excellent  crops  of 
mandioca  and  corn,  and  a  little  sugar-cane  ;  but  the  farmers 
have   a  most    uncompromising    enemy   in    the   saiiba   ants.* 

*  CEcodoma  cephalotes. 

THE   NORTH   SHORE.  2/3 

We  have  seen  these  at  Para  and  Santarem, — large,  reddish- 
brown  ants,  forever  walking  in  lines  through  the  forest,  each 
one  with  a  fragment  of  leaf  in  its  jaws.  What  they  use  the 
leaves  for,  is  a  question.  Mr.  Bates  supposes  that  they 
thatch  their  houses  with  them,  and  very  likely  he  is  right. 
Be  that  as  it  may,  the  ants  very  commonly  choose  the  leaves 
of  cultivated  plants  ;  they  will  strip  a  mandioca-bush,  or  even 
an  orange  tree,  in  a  day  or  two  :  workers  in  the  branches 
clipping  off  fragments  half  an  inch  square,  and  dropping 
them  down  to  their  fellows  below,  who  seize  them  and  march 
off  in  files  often  an  eighth  of  a  mile  long,  presenting  a  most 
singular  appearance  ;  you  hardly  see  the  ants  at  all  under 
their  loads.  Where  the  saiibas  are  numerous,  they  are  ter- 
rible pests  ;  Jose  complains  that  his  mandioca  field  is  half 
spoiled,  and  the  others  around  are  as  bad.  In  many  places 
we  find  ta/^erel?  *  thrown  here  and  there  to  protect 
the  plantations  ;  the  ants  are  said  to  take  their  leaves  in  pref- 
erence to  those  of  the  mandioca.  These  Saubas  are  wonder- 
ful engineers  ;  everywhere  we  find  their  roads  through  the 
forest  and  about  the  clearings  ;  tracks  two  inches  broad, 
quite  free  from  leaves  and  sticks,  and  keeping  a  generally 
straight  course,  often  for  half  a  mile  or  more.  They  all  lead 
at  length  to  the  central  dwelling  or  village,  where  the  red 
substratum  has  been  mined  away  and  brought  to  the  surface, 
forming  mounds  two  or  three  feet  high  and  often  fifty  feet 
across.  Besides  these  overground  roads,  there  are  tunnels 
leading  from  the  hill  ;  how  far  it  is  impossible  to  say,  but 
Mr.  Bates  records  this  : 

"  In  the  Botanic  Gardens  at  Para,  an  enterprising  French  gardener 
tried  all  he  could  think  of  to  extirpate  the  saiibas.     With  this  object  he 

*  Spondias,  sp. 

274  BRAZIL. 

made  fires  over  some  of  the  main  entrances  to  their  colonies,  and  blew 
the  fumes  of  sulphur  down  the  galleries  by  means  of  bellows.  I  saw 
the  smoke  issue  from  a  great  number  of  outlets,  one  of  which  was  sev- 
enty yards  distant  from  the  place  where  the  bellows  were  used."  * 

The  farmers  sometimes  bury  dead  fish  or  other  offensive 
matter  in  their  nests  ;  and  this,  it  is  said,  will  drive  them 
away.  In  Southern  Brazil,  certain  drugs  are  used  in  the 
same  manner. 

One  day,  after  a  rain,  we  find  the  winged  females  of  the 
saiiba  issuing  from  their  nests  by  thousands  :  fat-bodied  in- 
sects, as  large  as  a  hornet,  and  not  unlike  a  red  wasp  in  ap- 
pearance. Now  the  birds  hold  high  festival ;  toads  and 
lizards  and  monkeys  are  on  the  alert ;  and  the  helpless  saii- 
bas  fall  an  easy  prey  to  their  greedy  enemies.  Jose's  Indian 
woman  is  out  with  a  calabash-jug,  gathering  them  by  hand- 
fuls.  In  half  an  hour  she  is  back,  and  the  calabash  goes 
over  the  fire,  until  the  ants  are  killed  and  slightly  roasted  ; 
then  she  stirs  the  mass  well,  to  shake  off  the  wings,  adds  a 
little  salt,  and  smilingly  places  a  bowl  of  roast  saiibas  before 
us.  Well,  it  is  a  dish  worth  tasting,  you  may  be  sure.  You 
take  the  ants  delicately  by  their  heads,  and  bite  off  the  fat 
bodies  ;  they  taste  a  little  like  shrimps,  but  are  far  superior, 
to  my  thinking.  Why  not  ?  We  eat  oysters,  and  lobsters, 
and  turtles  ;  for  aught  I  know,  we  may  eat  sea-anemones 
and  caterpillars  some  day.  It  is  merely  a  matter  of  educa- 

Besides  the  saiiba,  there  are  other  insect  pests  at  Terra- 
preta.     While   we    are    geologizing    on    the    little    campos,f 

*  Naturalist  on  the  Amazons,  p.  14. 

+  These  are  not  sandy  campos,  but  stony  tracts  in  the  woods,  where  trees  cannot 



near  by,  a  minute  black  bee-  flies  in  swarms  about  our 
faces,  crawling  into  our  nostrils  and  eyes,  and  fairly  driving 
us  from  our  work  by  its  fussing,  though  it  does  not  sting. 

Thatch-palm  on  Ihe  Campo  at  Terra-preta. 

If  we  rest  in  the  house  during  the  hot  hours,  we  are  tortured 
by  the  vioUica  fly,t  3.  large,  bronzed  species,  which  lights 
on  us  everywhere,  and  runs  in  its  lancet-like  beak.  The 
houses,  also,  are  overrun  by  brown  wasps,  which  are  peace- 
able enough,  it  is  true,  if  one  can  avoid  stumbling  against 
their  nests.  Jose  attacks  them,  now  and  then,  with  a  long 
pole,  but  it  does  little  good.  One  half-ruined  house,  near 
by,  is  filled  with  the  nests,  so  that  hardly  a  square  inch  is  left 
uncovered,  and  the  wasps  fly  in  and  out  like  a  swarm  of  bees. 
Happily,  none  of  these  pests  disturb  us  after  sunset ;  then 
the  great,  open  kitchen-shed  is  cleared,  and  the  three  large 
stones  that  form  the  fireplace  are  piled  over  with  dry  wood, 

Melipona,  sp. 

+  Hadrus  lepidotus. 

2/6  BRAZIL. 

to  give  a  strong  blaze  ;  Jose  takes  his  wire-stringed  guitar, 
and  some  neighbor  comes  in  with  a  fiddle,  and  the  young 
people  improvise  a  rustic  dance,  Jose's  two  pretty  daughters 
taking  part  very  gracefully,  though  they  are  barefooted  and 
dressed  in  calico.  Songs  and  stories  fill  out  the  evening  ;  a 
bit  of  sociable  country  life  that  we  shall  see  very  often  in  our 

From  Terra-preta  we  explore  the  country  to  the  north, 
where  there  are  little  lakes  communicating  with  the  river 
Maecuru.  There  is  nothing  remarkable  about  the  lakes, 
which  are  much  like  those  of  *the  Amazonian  varzea  ;  only 
these  are  more  secluded,  with  w^oods  all  around,  and  rocky 
terra  firme  coming  down  to  the  shore.  The  flood-plain  of 
the  Maecuru  forms  long,  crooked  projections,  wherever  a 
stream  flows  in  from  the  sides ;  and  along  the  course  of 
these  streams  the  lakes  lie,  here  and  there.  The  most  of 
them  cannot  be  reached  from  the  river,  for  the  outlets  are 
through  impassable  thickets  and  grass  patches.  The  fisher- 
men have  little  narrow  paths  through  the  w^oods,  leading  to 
Lake  Turara,  and  one  or  two  others  ;  but  they  rarely  trav- 
erse them. 

We  pick  up  geological  notes  very  slowly,  as  one  must  do 
in  a  forest  country  ;  with  these,  and  our  insect  collections, 
and  some  stone  axes  and  pottery  from  the  black  land,  we 
are  content  to  leave  Terra-preta,  riding  back  with  Jose  on 
his  ox-cart.  On  a  moonlight  evening  we  pass  over  the  cam- 
po,  and  Jose  sings  ballads  and  tells  stories  until  we  wish  that 
the  road  were  twice  as  long. 

Paracary  is  one  of  a  whole  system  of  lakes  that  lie  close 
against  this  northern  terra  firme,  sometimes  almost  surround- 
ed by  it,  and  communicating  with  each  other,  or  with  the 
Amazons,   by   crooked   little   igarapes.      At  this  season,  the 

THE   NORTH   SHORE.  2/7 

current  In  these  igarapes  is  almost  always  from  the  Ama- 
zons, although  the  lakes  themselves  receive  water  through 
numerous  small  streams.  I  suppose  that  the  evaporation, 
over  such  large  surfaces  of  shallow  water,  is  enough  to  com- 
pensate for  the  inflow.  Lake  Paracary,  the  largest  of  the 
series,  is  only  five  or  six  feet  deep  in  the  dry  season  ;  but 
there  are  at  least  fifteen  square  miles  of  water-surface  in- 
cluded in  it ;  with  the  hot  suns  and  constant  rains,  the  evap- 
oration here  must  be  very  great. 

Lake  Curicaca  lies  a  little  to  the  northeast  of  Paracary, 
and  the  meadows  between  can  be  passed  in  canoes  during 
the  floods  ;  but  the  waters  are  low  yet,  so  we  set  out  to  walk 
the  six  or  eight  miles  from  Jose's  house,  along  the  lake- 
shores.  Here  and  there,  where  streams  come  in,  there  are 
deep  inlets  barring  our  way,  but  we  always  find  some  fisher- 
man to  set  us  across  in  his  canoe  ;  for  the  rest,  it  is  right 
pleasant,  walking  over  the  clean  sands,  by  groves  of  javary 
palms  and  beautiful  shore  woods.  The  white  herons^  are 
gathered  in  flocks  about  the  shallows  ;  pretty  little  marc'ca 
ducksf  swim  over  the  lake  in  great  bands,  or  waddle  tamely 
on  the  shore,  always  in  files  like  soldiers  ;  now  and  then  we 
see  a  clumsy  capibara  wading  through  the  grass  patches  and 
hardly  noticing  us  as  we  pass.  The  water  sparkles  brightly, 
and  the  grass  waves,  and  the  palm-trees  are  rustling  over- 
head;  so  joy  and  health  live  by  the  lakes.  Do  you  wonder 
that  the  poor  people  love  them  ?  Here  is  Bernardo,  whose 
riches  are  comprised  in  his  little  thatched  hut,  and  a  wooden 
canoe,  and  a  tiny  plantation  back  in  the  forest.  Well,  he 
might  find  more  fertile  land  elsewhere ;  there  are  saiibas  here 
that  strip  his  mandioca  field  ;  his  live  stock  consists  of  a  few 

*  Ardea  candidissima.  t  Anas  autumnalis. 

278  BRAZIL. 

chickens  and  half  a  dozen  sorry  sheep,  with  the  wool  hung 
on  in  scanty  bunches,  as  is  the  fashion  with  their  kind  under 
the  Equator.  But  Bernardo  is  happy,  and  hospitable,  too, 
in  his  poverty ;  he  will  not  hear  of  our  leaving  his  house 
until  we  have  eaten  dinner  with  him ;  so  one  of  the  chickens 
is  killed,  and,  while  it  is  cooking,  we  lounge  in  the  clean 
hammocks,  amusing  ourselves  with  the  plump,  four-year-old 
little  girl,  who  comes  to  us  quite  readily,  but  goes  away 
again  directly  to  put  on  a  tattered  dress  over  her  brown  skin. 
When  we  came,  she  had  nothing  on  but  a  pretty  necklace 
made  of  wild  beans  ;  I  am  admiring  this,  when  the  child,  at 
her  father's  order,  takes  it  off  willingly  and  puts  it  into  my 
hand.  It  happens  that  I  have  some  blue  and  red  glass  beads 
in  my  pack,  and  I  fill  the  little  one's  hands  with  these  ;  she, 
who  has  never  possessed  such  a  treasure,  knows  not  what  to 
do,  between  her  Indian  nature  that  would  keep  silent,  and 
the  white,  that  Avould  burst  forth  in  laughter  and  talk  ;  as  it 
is,  she  hugs  the  beads  close,  and  looks  in  my  face  with  a 
heavenly  smile,  and  so  goes  away  to  enjoy  her  happiness  in 
the  corner.  Five  cents'  worth  of  beads :  ten  dollars'  worth 
of  happiness  ;  more,  for  Bernardo  and  his  Indian  wife  are 
pleased,  as  well  as  the  child  ;  she  exhausts  her  simple  art  on 
our  dinner,  and  he  volunteers  to  walk  on  with  us,  three  miles 
yet,  to  show  the  path.* 

Lake  Curicacaf  is  little  more  than  a  mile  long,  and  half  as 

*  Poor  Bernardo  !  Six  months  afterward,  when  I  was  in  Santarem,  some  one 
came  to  me  with  a  scrawled  paper,  begging  charity  for  a  dying  man,  "  for  the  love 
of  God."  I  went  with  the  petitioner  to  a  little,  half-ruined  house,  where  I  found 
Bernardo's  Indian  wife,  and  the  child  staring  fearfully  with  her  great  eyes  at  a  form 
on  the  ground  ;  a  still  form,  with  a  white  cloth  thrown  over  it,  and  two  little  candles 
burning  near  ;  all  that  was  left  of  my  old  host.  He  was  taken  sick  at  Paracary,  and 
had  come  here  to  be  confessed,  and  so  died  just  before  I  came  to  the  house. 

t  Curicaca,  a  bird.  Ibis  melanopis. 

THE   NORTH   SHORE.  279 

wide  ;  at  the  northern  end  it  receives  a  little  sluggish  stream, 
or  rather  a  row  of  pools,  passing  through  a  long  stretch  of 
varzea  meadow.  The  meadow  is  a  bay  of  lowland,  reaching 
two  miles  or  more  into  the  terra  firme  ;  we  might  call  it  the 
flood-plain  of  the  stream  itself,  but  it  is  a  mile  wide  toward 
the  lake,  while  the  stream  is  hardly  five  yards  across.  All 
along  the  northern  shore  we  shall  find  these  varzea  bays, 
wherever  a  stream  flows  down ;  consequently,  the  dividing- 
line  between  the  varzea  and  terra  firme  is  extremely  irregu- 
lar ;  in  some  places,  indeed,  this  irregularity  is  so  great  that 
peninsulas  of  the  highland  stretch  far  into  the  meadows,  and 
are  even  cut  off  entirely.  These  forms  are  not  without  a 
theoretical  significance,  as  we  shall  see  by  and  by  ;  practi- 
cally, the  varzea  bays  form  excellent  pastures,  and  along  the 
shores  the  poor  people  have  built  their  houses,  within  easy 
range  of  their  fishing  places  on  the  lakes,  and  yet  near  their 
highland  plantations  of  mandioca. 

The  settlement  of  Curicaca  consists  of  some  twenty 
thatched  houses,  scattered  along  either  side  of  the  varzea  bay. 
There  are  no  sandy  campos,  as  at  Paracary  ;  the  forest  edge 
marks  the  limit  of  highest  water  during  the  floods^  and  the 
houses  are  built  just  within  it.  Generally,  they  are  hidden 
from  the  lake  and  the  meadow.  Except  for  the  cattle,  the 
landscape  is  what  it  has  been  for  a  thousand  years  past,  and 
what  it  will  be,  perhaps  a  thousand  years  hence.  The  Indian 
people  in  the  houses  are  hardly  more  changed  ;  they  speak 
Portuguese  instead  of  Tupi,  and  their  brown  skins  are  cov- 
ered with  coarse  clothes  ;  but  the  customs,  implements,  man- 
ner of  living,  character  even,  are  almost  the  same  as  those  of 
their  wild  ancestors. 

Graciano,  our  host,  is  a  young  fellow  who  settled  here 
five  or  six  years  ago,  and  is  living  as  the  Indians  do,  satisfied 

280  BRAZIL. 

with  his  day's  supply  of  fish  and  mandioca,  and  taking  small 
heed  for  the  morrow.  He  has  a  pretty  young  wife,  and  a 
six-year-old  little  girl ;  the  wife  cooks  his  meals,  digs  man- 
dioca roots  from  the  clearing  half  a  mile  away,  and  prepares 
farinha  from  them ;  in  short,  takes  all  the  labors  of  the 
house  and  field.  He  fishes,  or  hunts,  or  makes  a  new  clear- 
ing when  it  is  required  ;  works  a  little  for  the  traders,  now 
and  then ;  rarely  goes  twenty  miles  from  Curicaca,  and  does 
not  seek  to  better  his  lot,  which,  after  all,  is  the  happiest  for 
an  Indian.  His  hospitality  is  willing,  but  not  excessive  ;  he 
considers  our  presence  an  honor  to  his  house,  but  leaves  to 
us  the  question  of  payment,  which  a  white  man,  in  most 
cases,  would  refuse  altogether.  There  is  only  one  room  in 
the  house ;  the  best  corners  are  assigned  to  us,  and  the  best 
mats  are  spread  down  under  our  hammocks.  Graciano  prom- 
ises to  fish  for  us  every  day  ;  but  he  explains  that  they  have 
no  coffee  and  sugar,  so  we  order  these  necessary  articles  from 
Alenquer  by  the  first  canoe.  For  board,  lodging  and  wash- 
ing, we  agree  to  pay  five  hundred  reis — about  twenty  cents 
— per  day,  with  which  Graciano  is  abundantly  satisfied. 

From  the  first,  he  looks  upon  himself  as  a  servant ;  no 
well-bred  Indian  thinks  of  holding  himself  on  an  equality 
with  a  white  who  has  any  money.  When  our  meals  are  ready, 
he  spreads  a  mat  on  the  ground,  with  plates  for  us,  but  none 
for  himself;  then  he  stands  ready  with  a  calabash  of  water 
and  a  towel,  that  we  may  wash  our  hands  before  eating. 
Northern  peasants  might  smile  at  our  fare.  A  bowl  of  fish, 
and  another  bowl  with  caldo,  the  water  in  which  the  fish  was 
boiled  ;  a  calabash  of  mandioca-meal ;  a  plate  with  red  pep- 
pers and  salt  and  limes.  The  mandioca  is  soaked  with  caldo, 
and  the  fish  is  eaten  with  our  fingers,  for  Graciano  has  no 
forks.     Well,  there  is  an  appetite,  better  for  seasoning  than 

THE    NORTH   SHORE.  28 1 

the  peppers  and  limes  ;  and  after  dinner  the  cups  of  black 
coffee  are  delicious.  If  Jose"  or  his  neighbors  bring  us  a 
present  of  game,  so  much  the  better;  it  is  roasted  over  the 
open  iire,  with  all  the  juices  in,  as  no  French  cook  could  do 
it :  or  is  it  the  air,  and  our  day's  tramp  through  the  woods  ? 
Fresh  air  we  have,  outdoors  and  in,  for  the  palm-thatched 
sides  are  full  of  holes.  The  floor  is  of  native  earth  ;  it,  and 
the  cleared  space  before  the  house,  are  swept  neatly  every 
day  ;  and  Graciano  and  his  wife  are  as  clean  as  water  can 
keep  them.  What  does  it  matter  that  both  are  barefooted  ; 
that  Graciano  is  dressed  in  coarse  white  cotton,  and  that  his 
wife  has  nothing  better  than  a  calico  gown  ? 

There  is  another  Indian  settlement  in  the  forest,  two  miles 
north  of  Graciano's  house.  There  the  sluggish  igarape  of 
the  lowland  meadow  is  a  running  stream  ;  farther  north  still, 
we  find  only  the  dry,  rocky  bed,  passing  through  low  woods, 
with  urucury  *  palms  and  soap-berry  trees  ;  f  the  fruits  of  the 
latter  are  said  to  take  the  place  of  soap  for  washing,  but,  if 
they  are  so  used,  it  must  be  very  rarely  ;  the  Curicaca  In- 
dians always  employ  the  strong,  black  cacao  soap.  The  tree 
seems  to  be  characteristic  of  low  terra  firme  forests.  '  In 
other  places  along  the  stream  there  are  strips  of  still  lower, 
alluvial  land,  where  the  urucurys  grow  more  abundantly,  with 
the  spiny  murumuru  ;  :J;  such  ground  is  sometimes  called  varz- 
eada,  to  distinguish  it  from  true  Amazonian  varzea  on  the 
one  hand,  and  rocky  terra  firme  on  the  other. 

Exploring  the  forest  here,  we  constantly  meet  with  signs 
of  wild  animals  :  tapirs,  wild  hogs,  deer,  and  jaguars  ;  in  wet 
places,  near  pools,  the  whole  surface  is  broken  up  with  their 
tracks,  as  you  will  see  the  ground  in  a  cattle-yard.      One  day 

*  Attalea  excelsa,  +  Sapindus,  sp. 

X  Astrocaryum  murumuru. 

282  BRAZIL. 

we  find  a  deer  lying  by  the  path,  quite  dead,  but  still  warm  ; 
four  or  five  scratches  on  the  shoulder  show  where  it  was 
struck  by  a  jaguar's  paw.  Probably  our  footsteps  frightened 
the  marauder  away  as  he  was  about  to  make  a  meal  from  his 
victim.  Graciano  slings  the  deer  to  a  tree,  and  in  due  time 
carries  it  home. 

There  is  an  old,  abandoned  trail,  following  this  dry  bed  of 
the  Curicaca  igarape  at  first,  and  thence  leading  nearly  due 
north,  sixteen  or  eighteen  miles,  to  Lake  Cujubim. "  The  lake 
is  one  of  those  communicating  with  the  river  Maecuru  ;  the 
Indians  go  there  to  fish  sometimes,  but  by  another  path, 
from  Terra-preta.  However,  it  suits  our  purpose  better  to 
follow  the  old  trail  ;  with  some  difficulty  we  persuade  Gra- 
ciano to  go  with  us  as  a  guide ;  so  we  leave  the  house  one 
morning,  carrying  provisions  for  three  days,  and  a  calabash 
of  water. 

It  is  a  hard  tramp,  and  a  long  one.  The  forest  is  tangled 
beyond  anything  we  have  seen,  and  here  and  there  it  is  in- 
terrupted by  meadows,  which  are  worse  yet,  for  the  grass  is 
higher  than  our  heads,  and  so  matted  that  we  have  to  cut  our 
way  through  with  a  knife  ;  occasionally  we  meet  with  clumps 
of  sword-grass,  which  leave  hard  marks  on  our  clothing  and 
skins  ;  Graciano's  bare  feet  suffer  terribly.  The  meadows 
cause  long  delays  also,  because  in  crossing  them  we  are  sure 
to  lose  the  trail,  and  our  only  means  of  finding  it  is  by  the 
branches  and  vines,  cut  here  and  there  ;  no  easy  task  in  such 
forest  as  this,  where  the  cutting  was  done  perhaps  five  years 
ago.  However,  we  blunder  on  somehow  until  near  sunset, 
when  we  lose  our  way  altogether,  and  are  forced  to  go  into 
camp  most  uncomfortably,  with  only  dry  salt-fish  and  man- 

*  Cujubitn,  a  bird,  Penelope,  sp. 

THE   NORTH   SHORE.  283 

dioca-meal  for  supper,  and  the  last  of  our  water  to  wash  it 
down.  In  the  morning  we  hunt  two  hours  longer  for  the 
trail  without  finding  it,  and  then  strike  off  at  random  through 
the  woods,  only  keeping  a  general  northerly  course  ;  by  good 
luck  we  stumble  into  the  right  way  again,  and  so  at  length 
reach  the  lake,  thoroughly  tired  out,  to  be  sure,  but  with 
that  healthy  weariness  that  comes  from  open-air  labor. 

It  is  a  pretty  sheet  of  water,  not  more  than  a  mile  long, 
and  with  low  terra  firme  coming  down  to  the  shore  on  the 
southern  side,  where  there  is  an  old,  deserted  hut.  To  the 
west,  there  is  a  great  stretch  of  meadow ;  to  the  east,  the  lake 
has  its  outlook  to  the  Maecurii,  by  an  impassable,  tangled 
igarape,  full  of  logs  and  grass.  The  land  in  this  direction  is 
alluvial,  and  covered  with  thickets  of  spiny  bamboos  ;  on  the 
northern  side  there  is  more  alluvial  land,  with  swampy  forest 
and  bamboo  thickets  as  far  as  anybody  has  penetrated.  Gra- 
ciano  speaks  of  several  lakes  in  this  direction,  but  he  has 
never  visited  them,  and  we  can  learn  nothing  beyond  the 
mere  fact  or  tradition  of  their  existence.  Our  guide  is  more 
interested  in  the  lake  before  us  ;  he  points  out  great  fish 
stirring  the  water  here  and  there.  A  dozen  alligators  are 
lying  lazily  along  the  surface,  within  easy  pistol-shot,  but  by 
no  means  within  shooting  distance,  for  our  balls  rattle  harm- 
lessly against  their  skulls  and  bound  off  into  the  water.  Of 
another  class  of  lake  inhabitants  I  have  a  too-severe  re- 
minder. Jumping  into  the  water  for  a  bath,  I  jump  out 
again  in  two  seconds,  with  a  great  gash  in  one  of  my  toes  ; 
the  water  swarms  with  hungry  cannibal  fishes ;  *  piranhas, 
says  Graciano,  who  was  running  down  to  the  water  to  warn 
me.      He  binds  up  my  foot  with  certain  cooling  leaves,  and 

*  Serrasalmo,  sp. 

284  BRAZIL. 

after  that  we  are  content  with  a  shower-bath  on  shore.     By 
way  of  revenge,  we  bait  a  hook  with  a  bit  of  dried  meat, 
which  happens  to  be  in   our  provision-bag  ;  the  instant  we 
throw  it  in,  it  is  gobbled  up  greedily,  and  our  assailant,  or 
one  of  its  cousins,  is  drawn  out,  snapping  savagely  at  our 
feet  and  fingers  with  its  razor-like  teeth.      Graciano  cuts  off 
its  head  with  his  wood-knife,  and  a  bit  of  this  serves  to  bait 
for  the  next  one  ;   if  the  fish  do  not  come  fast  enough,  we 
stir  the  water  vigorously  with  the  pole,  when  a  great  rush  is 
sure  to  follow.     Ten  minutes  of  this  sanguinary  sport  leave 
some  thirty  piranhas  on  the  bank  ;   Graciano  finds  an  earthen 
kettle  in  the  hut,  and  our  fish  are  speedily  boiling  for  break- 
fast.     Notwithstanding  their  carnivorous  propensities,   they 
are  very  good  eating. 

There  are  several  species  of  these  greedy  piranhas  ;  this 
kind  is  seldom  more  than  ten  inches  long;  but  t\\Q piranha- 
assu  is  twice  as  large,  and  it  makes  nothing  of  biting  an 
ounce  or  so  of  flesh  from  a  bather's  leg.  People  are  some- 
times killed  by  the  piranhas  ;  hence  the  Brazilians  avoid 
swimming  except  where  they  know  that  the  water  is  free 
from  them.  The  fishermen  say  that  piranhas  gather  in 
bands  against  the  larger  fish  ;  crowding  to  the  attack,  they 
frequently  bite  each  other  by  mistake  ;  and  the  wounded 
ones  are  mercilessly  set  upon  and  devoured  by  their  com- 
panions.* Another  dangerous  fish  of  these  lakes  is  the  sting- 
ray, which  Hes  flat  on  the  bottom,  the  dark  upper  surface 
hardly  visible  over  the  mud  and  roily  water.     If  left  undis- 

*  The  Tupi  v^oxA.  pira?iha  is  said  by  Von  Martius  (Glossaries,  sub  voce)  to  be  a 
contraction  of  pird-sainha — /.  e.,  toothed  fish.  The  word  was  subsequently  used  by 
the  Indians  for  a  pair  of  scissors,  comparing  their  cutting  power,  I  suppose,  to  that 
of  the  fish  ;  and  from  this,  in  turn,  the  name  has  been  used  to  designate  a  fork- 
tailed  swallow — /.  e. ,  scissors-bird. 



turbed,  the  creature  is  harmless  enough,  but  a  careless  wader 
may  step  on  the  flat  body,  and  then  the  great,  barbed  sting  in- 
flicts a  wound  that  benumbs  the  whole  body,  and  makes  the 
sufferer  speechless  with  pain.  I  have  known  a  man  to  be 
bed-ridden  for  three  months  after  such  a  wound  ;  I  have 
known  others  who  were  lamed  for  life. 

Our  geological  gleanings  at  Cujubim  are  so  promising 
that  we  return  to  the  lake  after  some  days,  better  prepared 
for  a  long  stay.  We  find  an  Indian  fisherman  and  his  family, 
who  have  come  in  the  interim,  and  are  occupying  the  little 

Pirarucu      (From   Keller.) 

half-ruined  hut.  However,  they  readily  give  us  a  corner  of 
it ;  sleeping  out  of  doors  would  be  out  of  the  question  here, 
for  the  mosquitoes  are  numberless.  They  never  disturb  us 
during  the  day  ;  then  we  explore  the  lake  and  its  tributary 
streams  as  far  as  we  can  for  the  bamboo  thickets  ;  the  fish- 
ermen,  meanwhile,    employing   themselves   in   catching   and 

286  BRAZIL. 

curing  the  great  pirarucu,^  which  abounds  here,  as  it  does 
in  all  the  lowland  lakes  and  channels.  It  feeds  among  the 
floating  grass  patches,  in  shallow  water ;  sometimes  the  fish- 
ermen watch  for  it  there  ;  in  the  open  lake  one  man  paddles 
the  canoe  gently,  while  another,  in  the  bow,  stands  ready  to 
cast  his  harpoon  at  the  fish  as  they  come  to  the  surface. 
Often  he  is  unsuccessful ;  if  the  two  fishermen  obtain  four  or 
five  good  fish  in  a  day,  they  may  consider  themselves  fortu- 
nate. Successful  lake  fisheries  depend,  first,  on  high  floods, 
which  allow  the  fish  to  come  in  from  the  river  over  the  sub- 
merged lands,  second,  on  low  summer  vasantes,  which  keep 
them  confined  to  narrow  limits,  and  in  shallow  water.  When 
both  of  these  fail,  the  fisheries  are  unproductive  ;  hence  the 
price  of  dried  pirarucii  varies  in  different  years  from  one  dol- 
lar and  a  half  to  eight  dollars  the  arroba  of  thirty-two  pounds. 
As  it  happens,  this  is  an  unproductive  year  on  the  great 
lakes  near  the  Amazons  ;  hence  these  Indians  have  come  to 
out-of-the-way  Lake  Cujubim,  where  they  have  the  whole 
harvest  to  themselves.  Some  fish  that  they  bring  in  are 
seven  or  eight  feet  long,  and  will  yield  four  arrobas  of  dried 
sides  ;  but  these  are  less  esteemed  than  the  small,  lean  ones. 
The  flesh  is  dried  much  as  codfish  is  in  Newfoundland.  The 
sides  are  hung  to  a  pole,  and  cut  from  above  and  below,  so 
as  to  form  wide,  thin  slices  ;  these  are  well  rubbed  with  salt, 
and  dried  in  the  sun.  The  drying  process  is  anything  but 
appetizing ;  generally  the  house  is  surrounded  with  unfrag- 
rant  festoons,  on  which  the  flies  are  perched  by  thousands. 
At  night  these  must  all  come  in  doors  ;  but  for  the  perfect 
ventilation  of  the  palm-thatch,  the  place  would  be  uninhabit- 
able.    As  for  the  dried  fish,  one  eats  it,  at  first,  because  there 

*  Sudis. 



is  no  remedy ;  yet  in  time  we  come  to  like  it  very  well.  It 
is  the  standard  animal  food  of  all  the  lower  classes  through- 
out the  Amazons  Valley.  Fortunately  for  us,  the  Cujubim 
fishermen  bring  in  plenty  of  delicate  tiictinarcs  *  and  caraita- 
nds ;  species  as  large  as  shad,  and  quite  as  delicious.  They 
spear  these  in  the  shallows,  or  catch  them  with  lines  ;  nets 
are  useless  here,  for  the  piranhas  would  bite  them  to  pieces 
in  a  few  minutes. 

Igarape   de   Cujubim. 

Cujubim  is  fifteen  miles  beyond  the  northernmost  settle- 
ment of  this  region  ;  but  we  would  penetrate  still  farther,  to 
find,  if  we  can,  those  other  lakes  of  which  the  Indians  speak. 
There  is  a  good-sized  creek  flowing  in  from  the  northern  side, 
but  it  is  impassable  for  a  canoe,  and  the  banks  are  covered 
with  bamboo-thickets,  so  dense  and  spiny  that  the  Indians 
can  hardly  be  persuaded  to  enter  them  at  all.     At  length  we 

*  Cichla  temensis. 

2  88  BRAZIL. 

bargain  with  a  new-comer,  who  only  agrees  to  go  with  us 
when  we  offer  him  three  times  the  regular  wages.  It  would 
be  useless  for  us  to  attempt  to  make  our  way  alone  ;  in  any 
exploration  of  this  kind,  an  Indian's  instinct  and  woodcraft 
are  worth  far  more  than  white  intelligence.  Our  guide  is  a 
tall,  middle-aged  man,  nicknamed  Abacate,  alhgator-pear  ; 
as  is  often  the  case,  the  nickname  has  entirely  taken  the 
place  of  the  baptismal  one  ;  Abacate  he  is  to  all  his  com- 
rades, and  Abacate  he  remains  to  us,  for  aught  we  know  of 
any  other  appellation. 

We  carry  only  our  blankets,  with  a  change  of  clothing,  and 
mandioca-meal  for  four  days  ;  for  the  rest,  we  trust  to  Ab- 
acate's  gun  and  our  fishing-lines.  So  we  start  early  one 
morning,  crossing  the  lake  in  a  canoe,  and  landing  on  the 
low  ground  near  the  mouth  of  the  northern  creek,  which  we 
propose  to  follow  up.  Here  the  bamboos  are  twenty  or 
thirty  feet  high,  very  soft  and  pretty  from  the  water,  but 
once  in  the  thickets  we  must  pick  and  cut  our  way  as  best 
we  can,  constantly  torn  by  the  iron-like,  branched  spines  ; 
they  are  like  those  of  a  honey  locust,  but  stouter,  and  often 
six  inches  long.  Our  wood-knives  have  been  well  sharpened, 
but  we  speedily  dull  them  on  the  hard  bamboos  ;  the  stems 
are  so  close  together  that  often,  when  we  have  cut  one,  we 
cannot  push  it  back  among  the  others  until  we  have  hacked 
it  into  three  or  four  pieces  ;  and  this  where  arms  and  bodies 
are  embarrassed  in  the  narrow  path.  Barefooted  Abacate 
picks  his  way  with  extreme  caution,  taking  each  step  as  a  cat 
does,  feeling  the  ground  before  he  steps  on  it ;  but,  with  all 
his  care,  he  has  to  stop  more  than  once  to  pick  a  spine  from 
his  foot.  As  for  us,  our  clothes  are  torn,  and  our  bodies  are 
scratched  in  fifty  places,  but  still  we  push  on  somehow  ;  at 
times  the  ground  is  clear  for  a  little  way,  and  we  walk  read- 

THE   NORTH    SHORE.  289 

ily  over  the  clean,  hard  clay  ;  and  again  we  may  be  an  hour 
fighting  our  way  through  fifty  yards  of  tabocal.  Rarely  we 
see  an  old  knife-cut,,  mark  of  some  former  explorer ;  but 
there  is  nothing  like  a  continued  trail.  We  keep  the  creek 
in  sight,  and  so,  about  noon,  come  out  to  a  little  quiet  lake  or 
pond,  such  an  one  as  you  dream  of,  but  do  not  often  see,  even 
on  the  Amazons.  The  surface,  from  one  side  to  the  other, 
is  covered  with  beautiful  aquatic  plants,  pontederias  and  lil- 
ies ;  but  we  hardly  notice  these  ;  queen  among  them  all,  the 
Victoria  regia  spreads  its  great  leaves  on  the  placid  water, 
and  the  air  is  heavy  with  the  perfume  of  its  flowers.  We 
count  more  than  a  hundred  superb  ones  along  the  shore, 
and  farther  out  the  whole  surface  is  dotted  with  them.  The 
leaves  are  perfectly  circular,  and  turned  up  at  the  edges,  so 
that  they  look  like  great,  shallow  pans  floating  on  the  water  ; 
the  Indians  compare  them  to  the  furjios,  or  pans,  on  which 
mandioca-meal  is  roasted  ;  hence  the  ndiix\Q,  fur 710  de  jacarc, 
alligator's  roasting-pan. 

There  must  be  plenty  of  fish  among  the  plants,  for  we  see 
them  stirring  the  surface  in  every  direction  ;  Abacate  sur- 
veys the  lake  with  a  fisherman's  eye,  noting  here  a  pirarucu, 
and  there  a  carauana,  though  for  our  part  we  can  see  only 
black  heads,  all  one  to  us.  We  eat  our  breakfast  here,  but 
have  no  time  for  fishing  ;  there  is  a  tangled  grass-plot  be- 
yond the  lake,  where  we  must  hew  our  way  through  as  we 
would  through  so  much  thick  hedge.  Once  across,  we  re- 
solve at  least  to  have  a  clear  path  here  on  our  return  ;  so 
Abacate  sets  fire  to  the  grass  in  several  places,  and  the 
flames  leap  over  the  dry  stalks  in  an  instant,  flashing  up 
twenty  feet,  and  sending  great  clouds  of  smoke  over  the 
lake.  We  can  hear  the  roaring  and  crackling,  as  we  push 
our  way  on  through  another  bamboo  thicket,  the  worst  that 

290  BRAZIL. 

we  have  yet  encountered  ;  in  the  end,  we  are  obliged  to  make 
a  great  detour  to  avoid  an  utterly  impassable  mass.  Coming 
out  again  on  the  creek,  we  wade  it  where  it  is  up  to  our 
waists  ;  the  current  here  is  almost  imperceptible,  and  the 
water  is  covered,  in  many  places,  with  grass  and  pontederias. 
The  whole  region  is  a  dead  level ;  Abacate  climbs  a  tall  tree 
and  reports  low  terra  firme  to  the  northeast,  about  two  miles; 
toward  this  we  make  our  way,  through  a  score  of  bamboo- 
thickets  ;  reaching  the  goal  at  length,  with  our  stout  hunting- 
shirts  torn  to  rags,  and  our  arms  and  bodies  all  bloody. 
Abacate  is  hardly  able  to  walk  for  a  great  spine  in  his  foot, 
and  I  am  but  little  better  off  with  a  splinter  in  my  knee  ;  al- 
together, we  are  a  sorry  party. 

The  land  that  we  have  reached  is  a  low,  rocky  point,  with 
alluvial  ground  and  bamboo  thickets  on  either  side.  The 
forest  here  is  high  and  open,  with  undergrowth  of  stemless 
curud  palms.*  Since  leaving  the  little  Lake  Morerii,  we  have 
seen  no  indication  of  any  previous  exploration  ;  but  here  on 
the  point,  we  pick  up  two  or  three  bits  of  broken  pottery. 
Can  the  place  have  been  frequented  by  the  old  Indian  tribes  ? 
They  might  have  reached  it,  perhaps,  from  the  Maecurii  ; 
certainly,  they  never  pierced  these  bamboo  forests  with  their 
stone  axes. 

We  might  camp  here  for  the  night ;  but  unfortunately  we 
neglected  to  fill  our  water-bottles  before  leaving  the  igarape, 
and  the  hard  work  has  made  us  savagely  thirsty.  Abacate 
is  for  returning,  but  we  resolve  to  push  off  through  the  low- 
land again,  hoping  to  strike  the  creek  farther  up.  Fortu- 
nately, there  are  few  bamboo  thickets  in  this  direction  ;  we 
walk  easily  through  open  woods  until  we  reach  the  igarape, 

*  Attalea,  sp. 


here  flowing  from  the  northwest  with  a  sluggish  current.  It 
is  much  wider  and  deeper  than  near  Lake  Cujubim  ;  the 
banks  are  Hned  with  beautiful  open  woods,  much  like  varzea 
forest  ;  but  here  the  trees  are  dark-stemmed,  and  streaming 
with  black  moss.  By  the  flood-marks  on  their  trunks,  the 
waters  must  rise  twenty  feet  or  more. 

We  follow  the  bank  of  the  creek  for  two  or  three  miles, 
when  darkness  draws  on  and  we  are  fain  to  go  into  camp. 
There  are  no  palm-leaves  here  to  build  a  hut  of;  so  we 
must  hope  that  the  threatening  skies  will  not  bring  rain  be- 
fore morning.  We  have  been  pretty  thoroughly  wet  by  a 
shower  in  the  afternoon  ;  with  difficulty  Ave  light  a  fire  from  the 
soaked  sticks  lying  about,  and  a  bird  that  Abacate  has  shot 
is  toasted  for  supper.  We  dry  ourselves,  as  well  as  we  can, 
and  so  lie  down,  grievously  tormented  with  the  mosquitoes, 
which  give  us  no  peace  until  the  cool  air  before  daybreak 
drives  them  away. 

We  follow  the  igarape  for  five  or  six  miles  yet,  through 
open  forests  and  bamboo  thickets,  but  there  are  no  indica- 
tions of  high  land  or  of  more  lakes.  Abacate  climbs  the  tall- 
est tree  that  he  can  find,  and  scans  the  landscape  on  all  sides ; 
there  is  a  line  of  inongubas*  he  says,  stretching  off  to  the 
w^est :  a  water-side  tree,  that  marks  the  course  of  the  igarape 
which  we  have  been  following.  To  the  northwest  there  is  a 
line  of  higher  land,  just  visible  in  the  distance  ;  to  the  east, 
no  terra  firme  nearer  than  the  point  over  which  we  passed 
yesterday.  The  wonder  is,  that  this  great  stretch  of  lowland 
should  be  found  here,  cut  off"  as  it  is  from  the  Amazons, 
and  only  connected  with  the  small  river  Maecuru  by  a  nar- 
row passage  below  Lake  Cujubim.     Why,  we  ask  ourselves, 

*  Bombax,  sp. 

292  BRAZIL. 

should  this  insignificant  creek  have  a  flood-plain  twelve  miles 
wide  ?  The  Amazonian  varzeas  are  hardly  broader  in  some 

It  is  now  three  days  since  we  left  Cujubim,  but  our  prog- 
ress has  been  so  slow  that  we  can  hardly  be  more  than 
twelve  miles  from  the  lake  ;  eighteen,  perhaps,  by  the  crooked 
route  that  we  have  followed.  Mindful  of  our  scanty  pro- 
visions, we  give  up  farther  exploration  in  this  direction,  and 
return  to  the  terra  firme  point,  where  we  can  hope  to  pass 
the  night  free  from  mosquito-torments.  The  sky  is  clouding 
rapidly  ;  we  throw  up  a  palm-leaf  shelter  in  time  to  escape  a 
hard  shower  ;  when  that  is  passed,  the  darkness  has  set  in, 
and  we  have  much  ado  to  find  wood  for  the  indispensable 
fire.  Palm-leaves  are  thrown  on  the  ground  to  form  a  soft 
bed ;  we  roll  ourselves  in  our  blankets  and  sleep  as  only  tired 
men  can. 

Towards  midnight  I  am  awakened  by  Abacate's  dog,, 
which  stumbles  over  me,  yelping,  and  then  executes  a  com- 
plicated dance  about  the  fire  ;  while  wondering  at  this  phe- 
nomenon, we  are  suddenly  made  aware  of  its  cause  by  vicious 
little  bites  all  over  our  bodies.  ''  Corosoes  f'^  shouts  Aba- 
cate,  and,  begins  to  slap  himself  vigorously  ;  we  are  all  over- 
run by  an  army  of  foraging-ants.  A  half-minute  of  the  bat- 
tle ends  in  a  quick  retreat  to  the  forest.  We  wait,  at  a  safe 
distance,  until  the  last  of  the  host  has  passed  by ;  then  re- 
turn, and  sleep  undisturbed  until  morning.  Our  experience 
is  not  an  unusual  one  on  the  Amazons  ;  often  the  ants  enter 
houses  and  run  over  everything  for  a  little  while,  but  they 
kill  the  roaches  and  spiders,  and  do  no  harm.  Some  of  the 
armies  are  immense ;  while  attacking,  they  form  compact  pha- 

*  Eciton,  sp.    Perhaps  corgaa.     I  have  not  been  able  to  find  the  word  in  any  of 
my  dictionaries. 

THE   NORTH   SHORE.  293 

langes,  but  at  other  times,  the  columns  are  narrow — five  or  six 
ants  abreast,  and  forming  lines  of  almost  interminable  length. 
I  once  noticed  one  of  these  lines  crossing  a  forest  path  at  six 
o'clock  in  the  morning  ;  during  the  day  I  frequently  passed 
by  the  place,  and  the  ants  were  still  keeping  their  way  in  the 
same  direction  ;  at  nine  o'clock  in  the  evening  the  end  of  the 
procession  had  not  passed.  Allowing  that  the  insects  trav- 
elled but  an  eighth  of  a  mile  per  hour,  which  is  a  very  low 
calculation,  the  line  must  have  been  nearly  two  miles  long, 
and  composed  of  at  least  a  million  individuals.  A  friend 
of  mine  assures  me  that  he  once  noted  an  army  which  was 
three  days  in  passing  a  given  point.  The  ecitons  travel  as 
the  Goths  did,  carrying  their  children  with  them  ;  they  have 
no  fixed  habitation,  but  we  frequently  find  them  collected  in 
immense  masses  under  a  log  ;  this,  probably,  is  during  the 
breeding  season,  when  the  females  are  laying  their  eggs.  The 
armies  are  composed  exclusively  of  workers  and  soldiers. 

As  we  already  have  a  path  cut  through  the  tabocdes,  our 
return  trip  is  comparatively  easy  ;  half  a  day  from  the  point 
brings  us  back  to  Cujubim,  ragged  and  lame,  but  only  re- 
gretting that  we  have  not  explored  the  remainder  of  the  iga- 
rape.  Tradition  speaks  of  a  large  lake  called  Mimi^  lyi^ig  ii^ 
this  direction  ;  but  within  the  memory  of  the  oldest  fisher- 
man no  one  has  visited  it.* 

Our  eight  weeks  of  geological  exploration  have  not  been 
unproductive  of  results,  though  the  rock  exposures  are  few 
and  far  between.  What  we  have  seen  may  be  condensed 
into  this.  The  campos  and  low  hills  east  of  Paracary  show 
only  coarse   sandstones  and  clays,  of  the  universal  Amazo- 

*  The  Indian,  Abacate,  subsequently  explored  this  igarape  for  eight  or  ten  miles 
farther,  but  he  found  no  more  lakes  ;  the  flood-plain  was  as  wide  as  ever. 

294  BRAZIL. 

niaii  formation  :  Tertiary  or  Modern,  without  fossils,  so  far 
as  we  can  find.  North  of  a  Hne  extending  east  and  west 
through  Terra-preta  and  Curicaca,  the  rocks  are  sandstones 
of  the  Carboniferous  series;  and  at  Cujubim  there  are  shght 
exposures  of  Hmestone,  precisely  like  that  of  the  Lower  Ta- 
pajos.  The  rocks  are  very  nearly  level  ;  everywhere  they 
are  obscured  by  trap-intrusions,  diorite  and  breccia,  so  that 
it  is  very  difficult  to  obtain  sections.  Fossil-hunting  is  any- 
thing but  a  pastime  in  these  jungles  ;  our  Cujubim  collec- 
tions are  brought  away  with  difficulty,  on  a  horse,  but  at 
other  places  we  must  hire  men  to  take  them  to  the  nearest 
canoe-landing  on  their  backs.* 

The  wet  season  comes  on  apace,  and  the  rains  make  for- 
est exploration  uncomfortable  and  tedious.  With  regret  we 
leave  the  beautiful  lakes  and  our  kind  friends,  Indian  and 
white.  Graciano  takes  us  in  his  canoe  to  Alenquer,  passing 
over  the  flooded  meadows  and  through  two  or  three  other 
lakes  lying  close  against  the  terra  firme.  I  must  tell  you  of 
my  own  explorations  about  Alenquer,  and  beyond  to  the 
river  Curua. 

*  The  following  notes  may  aid  future  geological  explorers  in  seeking  out  new 
localities.  Among  the  country  people,  pedra  brava  generally  denotes  the  coarse, 
purple  sandstone  rock  of  the  Tertiary  (?)  series;  tabatinga  is  Tertiary  clay ;  pedra  dc 
amolar  (whetstone  rock)  is  generally  a  sandstone  of  the  Carboniferous  or  Devonian 
series,  and  will  always  repay  exploration  ;  pedra  preta  is  generally  diorite,  with 
which  Palaeozoic  rocks  may  be  associated ; /<?rf'<?,r;? <'?>(?  (flint),  ov  pedra  para  tocar 
fogo,  may  be  chert  or  cherty  rock,  or  sometimes  diorite.  Pedra  de  cal  is  limestone, 
but  other  white  rocks  are  frequently  mistaken,  for  this.  Pay  no  attention  to  rumors 
of  gold  or  coal-mines. 



MY  impressions  of  Alenquer  are  very  pleasant.  I 
reached  the  place  one  afternoon,  just  before  sunset. 
There  was  the  usual  row  of  picturesque  whitewashed  houses, 
and  a  church,  not  at  all  handsome  ;  a  great  tract  of  open 
grass-land  stretching  down  to  the  water-side,  and  a  forest- 
covered  ridge  back  of  the  village.  What  with  the  sunshine 
on  the  houses,  and  the  dark  woods  in  the  background,  and 
the  bright  green  turf,  it  formed  an  exquisite  picture  ;  the 
more  so  to  me,  I  suppose,  because  I  had  been  canoeing  all 
day  by  wild  forests,  and  the  sunset  village  came  in  sight  sud- 
denly, as  we  rounded  a  point. 

After  this,  I  was  here  very  often,  and  came  to  like  the 
place  immensely.  At  first  I  lived  with  one  of  the  villagers  ; 
but  after  awhile  I  had  a  house  of  my  own,  and  picked  up  a 
man  to  work  for  me.  This  fellow,  Pedro,  was  my  factotum 
for  a  long  time.  He  was  a  young  Indian,  rather  wxak- 
minded,  but  he  served  me  so  faithfully  and  was  so  ready  and 
affectionate,  that  I  became  much  attached  to  him.  He  was 
in  debt,  of  course,  and  his  creditor  made  him  work  at  inter- 
vals by  way  of  payment ;  I  persuaded  this  creditor  to  make 
out  an  account,  and  advised  Pedro  to  leave  half  of  his  wages 
in  my  hands  for  its  payment ;   in  this  way,  I  had  the  satisfac- 



tion  of  seeing  the  debt  cancelled  before  Pedro  left  me : 
though  I  have  no  doubt  that  he  made  another  one  as  soon  as 

Alenquer  lies  several  miles  away  from  the  main  Amazons, 
on  a  side  channel,  the  Igarapc  d' Alenquer ;  or  rather,  just 
within  the  mouth  of  a  small  affluent,  the  Igarape  de  Itaearard, 
which  enters  the  Alenquer  from  the  north.  This  Igarape 
d'Alenquer  is,  as  we  shall  see,  the  outlet  of  the  river  Curua ; 
but  it   contains  Amazonian  water  also.      It  is  wide   enough 

Village   Scene,    Alenquer. 

and  deep  enough  for  any  of  the  river  steamers  ;  in  the  dry 
season  they  receive  cargo  directly  at  the  bank,  but  in  January 
and  February  the  water  overflows  the  great  grass-plot  before 
the  village,  almost  up  to  the  streets  ;  then  the  steamers  must 
be  loaded  from  canoes.  Alenquer  has  a  thriving  trade  in 
Brazil-nuts,    cacao    and    dried    pirarucu-fish.      There    are    a 

THE    CURUA.  297 

dozen  stores,  with  groceries  and  dry-goods  ;  a  few  work- 
shops, and  so  on.  The  place  may  have  eight  hundred  in- 
habitants. Like  most  of  the  river  towns,  it  is  well  laid  out, 
with  wide  streets,  and  a  square  before  the  church  ;  the  houses 
are  modern,  very  well  built,  of  adobe  or  brick,  and  with  tile- 
roofs  ;  only  a  few,  in  the  outskirts,  are  palm-thatched. 

The  people  are  unceremonious  and  hospitable.  The  mer- 
chants are  shrewd  money-makers  ;  most  of  them  own  cattle- 
farms  or  cacao-plantations  away  from  the  town  ;  these  are 
their  best  securities,  and  the  starting-points  with  many  of 
them.  The  educated  people  are  the  schoolmaster  and  two 
or  three  provincial  officers  ;  perhaps  I  should  add  the  priest ; 
he  was  a  man  of  fifty  or  thereabouts ;  bad-featured,  im- 
mensely corpulent,  and  the  most  immoral  person  in  the 
village.  He  was  noted  as  a  hunter  ;  used  to  spend  entire 
days  in  the  woods,  rain  or  shine,  and  very  hard  work  it  must 
have  been  with  his  fat  body.  As  for  pastoral  labor,  that  was 
pretty  much  confined  to  saying  mass,  officiating  rarely  at  a 
marriage  or  burial,  and  baptizing  children  ;  these  latter,  at 
Alenquer,  are  out  of  all  proportion  to  the  marriages. 

All  through  the  country  towns  of  Brazil  you  will  find 
ecclesiastics  like  this  :  sensual,  immoral,  degraded,  a  by-word 
and  a  reproach  among  the  people.  I  believe  that  most  of 
these  men  commence  their  lives  with  honest  purity  of  pur- 
pose ;  but  the  temptations  of  their  position  find  ready  victims 
in  enforced  celibates  ;  then,  with  the  first  sin,  comes  remorse; 
with  others  despair  ;  and  the  priest  settles  down  to  routine, 
and  reckless  impurity,  and  shame  hardly  concealed.  He  is 
worse  than  other  people,  because  he  is  reckless,  and  intelh- 
gent,  and  well-fed.  Now,  I  think  it  wonderful  that  there  are 
any  good  priests.  Sometimes  you  meet  with  such,  like  the 
vicar   of  Santarem  :    unselfish  Christians,   who   do   more   by 

298  BRAZIL. 

their  example  than  they  could  by  volumes  of  sermon-sanctity. 
But  they  often  lose  the  respect  that  they  deserve,  because 
intelligent  people  have  become  disgusted  with  priests  al- 
together ;  unjustly  lump  the  good  with  the  bad,  and  fare 
the  worse  themselves.  Other  men  revere  the  office,  though 
they  may  despise  the  man  ;  and  the  lower  classes  worship 
blindly,  and  laugh  at  the  priest  and  his  immoralities  if  they 
think  of  them  at  all. 

I  found  much  to  interest  me  around  Alenquer.  The 
woods  are  high  and  pleasant ;  there  is  a  good  road  running 
back  three  or  four  miles  to  the  picturesque  Lake  Curumu, 
where  I  sometimes  went  with  Pedro.  The  lake  is  in  a  hol- 
low of  the  terra  firme,  communicating  Avith  the  varzea  plains 
by  a  narrow^  passage  ;  in  other  words,  it  is  a  projection  of  the 
alluvial  land  that  has  not  been  entirely  filled  in.  The  shores 
are  low,  and  rocky  in  many  places,  with  long  spits  of  sand, 
and  groves  of  javary  palms.*  A  score  or  so  of  houses  are 
scattered  along  the  shores.  Pedro  and  I  stopped  with  an 
old  Indian,  apparently  a  pure-blooded  one,  but  he  differed 
from  nearly  all  the  Indians  that  I  ever  saw,  in  that  he  had 
amassed  a  little  property;  besides  three  or  four  good  houses, 
he  had  a  cacao  plantation  on  the  lowlands,  and  fifty  or  sixty 
cattle.  His  Curumu  house  w^as  quite  a  triumph  of  rural 
architecture  :  covered  with  palm-thatch,  of  course,  and  with 
earthen  floor  ;  but  it  was  very  neatly  built,  and  had  three 
large  rooms.  The  old  fellow  was  rough,  but  good-hearted  ; 
he  made  long  excursions  with  me  in  the  woods,  and  marvelled 
greatly  at  my  saving  w^orthless  stones  and  bugs.  His  wife 
was  a  virago,  and,  like  the  rest  of  her  class,  had  a  soft  side  ; 
I  used  to  mollify  her  with  tobacco,  but  she  steadily  refused 

*  Astrocaryum  javari. 



to  let  her  daughters  smoke  ;  said  it  was  an  expensive  habit, 
which  young  women  should  not  learn.  The  girls  often 
begged  a  pipeful  on  the  sly,  smoking  it  when  their  mother 
was  away. 

At  Curumu  and  the  neighboring  settlements,  I  tried  to 
pick  up  canoemen  for  my  projected  trip  to  the  Curua  ;   but, 

An   Indian   Kitchen. 

it  was  by  no  means  easy  to  make  up  a  crew.  The  river  has 
a  very  bad  reputation  for  fevers  and  general  sickliness  ;  not 
without  cause,  it  must  be  said,  though  probably  the  ill  is 
overrated.  The  Indians  go  there  readily  enough  to  gather 
Brazil-nuts,  or  to  fish,  but  it  is  the  free  life  that  attracts  them, 
and  the  possibility  of  large  profits  with  successful  work. 
Canoeing,  under  another  man's  orders,  has  no  such  charm  ; 
their  experience  is  with  the  traders,  who  keep  them  in  a  con- 
dition  of  semi-servitude,   and  pay  them  but  scantily  in  the 



end.      At  first  I  could  not  find  a  man  to  go  with  me.     After 
a  little,  I  began  to  speak  of  my  expedition  rather  as  a  pleas- 
ure excursion,  a  tour  of  discovery,  with  plenty  of  fishing  and 
turtle-hunting  throw^n  in  ;   but  even  with  these  attractions  I 
could  get  only  two  men  besides  Pedro.     One  of  these,  Joao, 
was  a  dark  cafuzo,"^  a  willing  fellow,  but  apt  to  be  sullen  and 
passionate    whenever   he    thought    I    was    infringing    on  his 
rights.      The    other    man,    Antonio    by    name,    was    an    old 
mainelicco,^  whose  sole  possessions  in  the  world  were  a  rag- 
ged hammock  and  his  little  boy,  Feliciano.      He  stipulated 
in  the  outset  that  the  boy  should  go  with  us.      I  agreed  to 
take    him,  at   least  as   far   as   the   settlements    of  the  lower 
Curua,    where    we   would   decide    finally   whether  he    could 
safely  go   to  the  falls.     Antonio  proved  to  be  very  faithful 
and  hard-working.      He  was  so  devotedly  attached  to  little 
Feliciano,  that  he  would  hardly  sufi*er  him  to  go  out  of  his 
sight ;  the  boy  always  slept  in  his  father's  hammock,  and  sat 
by  him  in  the  canoe  ;  the  old  man  gave  him  his  bath  night 
and  morning,  saw  that  he  had    tender  bits  at  dinner,   and 
carried  him  over  rough  places  on  shore.     Yet  the  two  were 
not  demonstrative  in  their  affection  ;  Feliciano,  sitting  quite 
still  by  his  father,  was  like  any  other  Indian  or  half-breed 
child  ;  and  I  never  knew  Antonio  to  caress  him,  or  say  a 
loving  word  to  him. 

I  hired  a  good,  serviceable  canoe  of  one  of  the  Alenquer 
merchants  ;  provisions  for  several  weeks  were  stowed  away 
in  the  little  thatched  tolda,  and  I  hoped  to  fill  out  my  insuf- 
ficient crew  at  the  Curua  settlements.  So  we  left  the  village 
early  one  morning,  turning  up  the  Igarape  d'Alenquer,  which 
runs  here  between  bright  green    meadows,  with  clumps  of 

*  Cross  between  an  Indian  and  a  negro, 
t  Cross  between  an  Indian  and  a  white. 

THE   CURUA.  301 

trees  along  the  shore.  The  water  was  almost  at  its  lowest 
point,  fifteen  or  twenty  feet  below  the  meadows  ;  the  clay 
banks  steeply  cut,  as  on  all  the  varzea  channels,  but  every- 
where with  a  floating  fringe  of  beautiful  canjia-rajia  grass. 
Under  these  grass  fringes  the  fish  love  to  hide  ;  pretty  aca- 
rcis,"^  or  slender  sarapds^  or  great  clnHisy  piraruais ;  %  and 
often  the  swaying  stalks  showed  where  an  alligator  had  been 
sunning  himself  by  the  bank. 

The  igarape  has  a  pretty  uniform  width  of  about  one 
hundred  and  fifty  yards  ;  the  water  is  clay  yellow,  like  the 
Amazons;  current  strong,  but  not  swift.  About  fifteen  miles 
above  Alenquer,  the  Amazonian  water  flows  in  through  a 
wide,  short  channel ;  this  channel,  indeed,  is  regarded  as  the 
upper  mouth  of  the  Alenquer,  and  the  stream  which  flows  in. 
from  the  west,  like  a  continuation  of  the  Alenquer,  is  known 
as  the  Igarape  do  Lago  de  Ciirud ;  thus,  the  Alenquer  would 
be  2^  parand-miri,  or  side  channel  of  the  Amazons,  receiving 
the  Igarape  do  Lago  at  the  upper  end.  The  latter  stream 
has  still  a  portion  of  Amazonian  water,  as  we  shall  see  ;  but 
in  the  endless  ramifications  of  the  lowland  channels,  it  seems 
simpler  to  regard  the  Igarape  do  Lago  and  the  Igarape 
d'Alenquer  as  portions  of  the  river  Curua — channels  in  which 
it  flows  through  the  lowlands,  to  enter  the  Amazons  near 

The  steamboats  of  the  Amazonian  Company,  coming 
down  from  Obidos  to  Alenquer,  enter  the  igarape  through 
this  upper  mouth.  There  is  a  thriving  little  sugar  plantation 
here,  the  cane  growing  well  on  the  raised  border,  where  it  is 
flooded  only  during  three  or  four  weeks  of  each  year.  For 
the    rest,   the    grass-lands    afford    pasturage   to    many   small 

*  Mesonauta  insignis.  t  Carapus,  sp.  var.  %  Sudis. 

302  BRAZIL. 

herds,  and  a  few  large  ones.  The  whole  region  is  varzea 
meadow;  only,  far  to  the  north,  we  could  see  little  islands 
of  terra  hrme,  rising  above  the  rich  green  of  the  plain.  Some 
of  these  islands  contain  strips  of  grass-land,  where  the  cattle 
are  kept  during  the  floods  ;  but  the  larger  herds  are  driven 
away  to  Campo  Grajtde,  the  great  highland  pasture  north  of 

Stopping  constantly  to  examine  lakes  and  channels,  our 
progress  was  slow  enough  ;  we  passed  the  first  night  at  a 
cattle  fazenda,  and  only  in  the  afternoon  of  the  second  day 
reached  the  broad  lake  Curua,  twenty-five  miles  from  Alen- 
quer. Long  before  reaching  the  lake,  the  belt  of  trees  along 
the  banks  had  disappeared  ;  the  banks  themselves  were 
lower,  and  almost  as  far  as  we  could  see,  there  was  only 
clean,  bright  meadow,  as  level  as  the  ocean.  No  doubt 
these  low  meadows  are  a  more  recent  formation  than  the 
high  ones  near  Alenquer ;  the  Amazons  has  had  no  time  to 
build  them  up,  and  throw  on  a  raised  border  where  forest 
trees  can  grow.  Time  was  when  Lake  Curua  extended  far 
down  toward  Alenquer  ;  but  every  flood  has  added  a  little 
to  the  meadows  at  the  lower  end,  and  so,  in  the  course  of 
centuries,  they  have  attained  their  present  limit,  leaving  only 
a  long  outlet  through  the  Igarape  do  Lago. 

There  was  a  fine  breeze  over  the  lake  when  we  entered 
it ;  the  men  had  the  sail  up  in  a  moment,  and  we  bowled 
along,  six  or  eight  miles  an  hour,  spray  flying  and  water 
fretting  merrily  under  the  bows  ;  open  horizon  ahead  of  us, 
and  the  two  sides  only  visible  as  a  broken  line  of  meadow, 
with  clumps  of  trees  here  and  there.      But  the  lake  is  very 

"^  I  have  never  visited  Campo  Grande.  According  to  the  reports  of  the  herds- 
men, it  is  a  stony  plain,  many  miles  wide  and  at  least  twenty  long ;  probably  it 
would  repay  geological  exploration. 

THE    CURUA.  303 

shallow  ;  once  we  ran  aground  almost  In  the  middle,  and 
even  in  the  deeper  places  we  could  sometimes  touch  the  bot- 
tom with  our  boat-poles.  During  very  low  vasantes,  it  is  said, 
the  lake  is  reduced  to  a  mere  channel,  with  mud-banks  on 
either  side  ;  the  still  larger  Lago  de  Tostdo,  near  by,  dries  up 
altogether.*  Tostao  communicates  with  Lake  Curua  by  a 
mouth  about  four  hundred  yards  wide.  Just  by  this  en- 
trance, on  the  southern  side  of  it,  there  is  a  little  clump  of 
high  woods,  called  Ilha  de  JMiiini.  The  men  had  told  me 
that  this  was  a  terra  firme  island ;  but  the  nearest  highland 
to  the  north  was  eight  or  ten  miles  away,  and  beyond  the 
Amazons  I  knew  that  the  southern  mainland  was  still  farther 
off;  I  could  not  believe  that  such  an  insignificant  fragment 
could  be  left  in  the  very  midst  of  the  varzeas.  As  it  turned 
out,  however,  the  men  were  right.  We  landed  on  a  pebbly 
shore,  and  found  little  ridges  of  rounded  stones,  perhaps 
three  acres  in  all.  The  island  is  covered,  or  nearly  covered, 
during  every  flood ;  but  it  is  none  the  less  distinct  from  the 
mud  and  clay  around  it.  Not  the  Amazons  itself  could  throw 
up  a  ridge  like  this ;  there  must  be  a  foundation  of  solid  sand- 
stone below,  from  which  these  pebbles  have  been  washed. 
Yet  the  trees  are  of  varzea  species,  t  Mixed  with  the  peb- 
bles I  found  numerous  fragments  of  pottery,  and  bivalve 
shells  like  those  in  the  shell-heap  at  Taperinha.  No  doubt 
the  island  was  frequented,  centuries  ago,  by  shell-fish  eating 
Indians — perhaps  the  same  tribe  that  built  the  Taperinha 
mound.     Shells  and  pottery  have  been  rolled  about  until  they 

*  According  to  Sr.  D.  S.  Ferreira  Penna :  A  Regiao  Occidental  da  Provincia  do 
Para,  p.  60. 

+  I  regret  that  I  did  not  make  a  careful  examination  of  the  plants  on  this  curious 
island,  but  I  was  much  pressed  for  time.  The  sandstone  is  hard,  and  of  various 

304  BRAZIL. 

are  hardly  recognizable  ;  those  that  are  left  must  have  come 
from  large  heaps  on  the  ridge. 

We  went  a  little  way  into  Lake  Tostao,  which  stretches 
far  to  the  western  horizon,  but  it  is  so  shallow  that  we 
hardly  found  water  for  the  canoe.  Alligators  swarm  around 
the  mouth  like  so  many  tadpoles  ;  I  counted  seventeen  with- 
in easy  pistol-shot.  During  great  vasantes,  when  the  lake 
dries  up,  they  are  forced  together  in  httle  pools  ;  there  they 
grow  ravenous  with  hunger,  until  they  devour  each  other 
mercilessly.  Woe  to  the  ox  or  man  that  falls  into  one  of 
these  terrible  pools  :  a  quick  struggle,  a  trail  of  blood,  and  a 
score  of  hideous  reptiles  are  tearing  limb  from  limb.  Yet  at 
other  times  the  alligators  are  cowardly,  and  generally  harm- 
less ;  these  at  Tostao  never  offered  to  attack  us,  though  the 
men  were  bathing  up  to  their  knees  in  the  water. 

Lake  Curua  extends  twenty  miles  or  more,  almost  to  the 
terra  firme  ;  but  different  parts  of  it  are  known  by  different 
names  :  Lago  de  Cardozo,  Lago  dos  Botos,  Lago  de  Maaird. 
When  the  waters  are  lowest,  these  parts  form  separate  lakes, 
connected  by  wide,  short  channels  ;  but  at  other  times  the 
whole  series  forms  a  single  sheet,  varying  in  width  from  one 
mile  to  eight  or  ten.  On  the  southern  side,  Lago  de  Tostao 
lies  close  to  the  Amazons  ;  to  the  north,  a  score  of  smaller 
lakes  are  scattered  about  the  varzea  meadows  ;  to  the  south- 
west, another  group  extends  almost  to  Obidos. 

All  of  these  lakes  are  rich  in  fish  ;  Curua  and  Tostao,  es- 
pecially, are  celebrated  for  their  great  harvests  of  pirarucu. 
We  saw  many  fishing  canoes,  and  now  and  then  an  open 
hut  where  some  Indian  family  had  camped  for  the  summer  ; 
a  most  uncomfortable  life  they  must  have  led,  for  the  mos- 
quitoes here  were  numberless ;  at  nightfall  we  were  sur- 
rounded by  swarms  of  them. 

THE    CURUA.  305 

We  had  turned  to  the  north  now,  entering  the  river  Cu- 
rua.  At  first  it  is  a  narrow  channel  in  the  floating  grass, 
where  we  could  hardly  force  our  way  against  the  swift  cur- 
rent ;  but  farther  up,  the  banks  are  well  defined — nearly  two 
hundred  yards  apart,  with  a  border  of  trees  hiding  the  mead- 
ows within.  The  floating  grass  below  marks  a  long  shallow, 
where  the  river  is  forming  its  little  delta  in  the  lake  ;  this 
shallow  forms,  also,  the  limit  of  Lago  dos  Botos,  where  it  is 
separated  from  the  main  Lago  de  Curua. 

It  was  midnight  before  we  reached  the  settlement  of  Cu- 
rua ;  a  chorus  of  barking  dogs  greeted  us  as  we  landed  at 
the  high  banks  and  walked  up  to  a  whitewashed  house  near 
by.  I  shouted  long  before  the  owner  came  out,  sleepily,  to 
greet  me  ;  but  his  hospitality  was  ready  enough  ;  in  ten  min- 
utes my  hammock  was  swung  in  the  best  room,  and  I  had 
forgotten  about  mosquitoes  and  everything  else.  So  it  is 
with  this  half- wild  life  :  sleep  is  a  solid  block  cut  out  of  ex- 
istence ;  you  enter  a  blank  ;  you  emerge  to  sunshine,  and 
health,  and  life  without  limit. 

The   village    of  Curua*   is    one    of  those    out-of-the-way 

*  Formerly  a  mission  village,  called  Bares^  was  established  just  above  the  pres- 
ent settlement,  at  the  place  now  called  Curud-vclha ;  in  1758  it  took  the  name  of 
Logar  de  Arcozello,  but  shortly  afterward  the  mission  was  removed  to  Obidos.  Tra- 
dition says  that  Alenquer  (then  called  Surubiii)  took  its  rise  from  the  same  village 
of  Arcozello,  the  people  removing  bodily,  on  account  of  the  unhealthfulness  of  the 
old  location.  But  if  this  change  took  place,  it  must  have  been  very  early,  for  already, 
in  1758,  the  village  of  Alenquer  was  created  by  official  act  ;  in  Moraes  (Historia  da 
Companhia  de  Jesus,  1759)  I  find  the  two  villages  mentioned  as  Surubiii  and  Cu- 
ruhd.  Jose  Goncalves  de  Fonseca  (Navega^lo  feita  da  cidade  do  Gram-Para,  1749) 
wrote:  "The  lake  Surubiii  (Curua)  opens  by  two  mouths  into  the  Amazons.  On 
the  eastern  side  (?)  is  founded  a  village,  having  the  same  name  as  the  lake,  and 
under  charge  of  the  Capuchin  Fathers.  The  Indians  of  this  village  live  in  great 
plenty,  not  only  from  the  lake,  but  from  the  campos,  where  cattle  are  raised."  The 
present  village  of  Curua  was  founded  in  1849.  See  D.  S.  Ferreira  Penna,  op.  cit. , 
pp.  64,  65. 


306  BRAZIL. 

places  that  one  finds  scattered  through  the  Amazonian  re- 
gion— a  drowsy,  happy,  old-fashioned  settlement,  the  very 
type  of  tropical  repose.  Steamboats  cannot  come  here  ;  the 
nearest  ports  are  Alenquer  and  Obidos,  a  day's  journey 
away,  either  of  them,  canoeing  through  the  channels.  The 
villagers  do  not  concern  themselves  greatly  with  these  river 
towns  ;  up  here  it  is  cool  and  healthful ;  the  land  is  rich,  and 
the  fish  are  abundant,  and  Curua  is  honiia  :  that  is  it,  boiiita 
— pretty,  the  word  that  expresses  all  excellence  to  the  rustic 
mind.  Please  God,  they  shall  live  here  where  their  fathers 
lived,  and  the  vague  outside  world  may  go  on  with  its  sput' 
tering  steamboats,  and  great,  candle-lit  churches,  and  broad- 
cloth coats. 

Some  fifty  palm-thatch  houses  are  scattered  irregularly 
along  the  shore,  and  in  the  second -growth  woods  beyond. 
To  this  day  I  know  not  but  there  may  be  fifty  more  ;  I  was 
forever  stumbling  on  them  when  hunting  for  insects  along 
the  narrow  paths.  The  Indians,  especially,  seem  always  to 
conceal  their  houses  ;  each  one  is  built  in  a  little  cleared 
space,  which  is  kept  quite  clean,  and  free  from  weeds  and 
bushes  ;  but  even  if  the  house  is  near  the  main  path,  they 
almost  always  leave  a  hedge  of  tropical  growth  before  it,  so 
that  a  passer-by  sees  nothing  of  the  open  ground.  Perhaps 
this  is  an  instinct,  inherited  from  their  naked,  brown  ances- 
tors ;  savages  hide  themselves  as  birds  and  beasts  do,  even 
when  they  have  nothing  to  fear. 

There  are  three  houses  of  more  aristocratic  port,  white- 
washed and  tile-covered  ;  two  of  these  are  stores  ;  the  other 
is  occupied  by  the  village  schoolmaster,  but  the  school  is 
accommodated  in  a  palm-thatched  shed  adjacent.  The  mas- 
ter— good  old  Braz  Correa,  I  shall  never  forget  his  obsequi- 
ous visits  to  me,  and  how  he  made  the  little  boys  rise  up  to 



do  me  reverence  when  I  passed  by  the  door.     It  is  different 
in  the  steamboat  ports  ;  bless  you,  the  traveUing  naturahst  is 
no  uncommon  visitor  there,  and  the  people  never  think  of 
lionizing  him.     But  they  lionized  me  at  Curua,  as  never  a 
bug-hunter  was  lionized  be- 
fore.    I   walked  about,  se-  j 
renely    aware    that     I    was                '    :^r^^  1 
the  most  important  man  in 
the  place. 

The  sensible  country 
people  went  about  in  light 
cotton  clothes  ;  the  women 
with  skirt  and  chemise,  the 
men  with  trousers  and 
shirt  and  a  broad-brimmed 
straw  hat.  Braz  Correa 
and  one  or  two  others  had 
coats,  which  they  wore  on 
state  occasions  ;  and  most 
of  the  well-to-do  peasants 
were  possessors  of  shoes, 
which  they  carried  in  their 
hands  quite  as  often  as  on 
their  feet.  Shoes  are  gall- 
ing, and  should  be  used 
only  in  company, 

I  lived  with  one  of  the 
principal     storekeepers,     a 

nearly  pure  black,  and  one  of  the  few  of  his  race  that  I  have 
seen  in  positions  of  trust ;  he  was  employed  by  an  Alenquer 
merchant  to  superintend  this  branch  establishment,  and  a  very 
steady  and  hard-working  fellow  he  was.      Every  day  I  walked 

An   Indian   Mother. 

308  BRAZIL. 

out  into  the  forest.  It  was  primeval  forest,  untouched,  ex- 
cept close  to  the  village,  and  the  highest  and  most  luxuriant 
that  I  ever  saw,  even  on  the  Amazons  ;  more  than  a  hundred 
feet  on  the  level,  with  individual  trees  rising  far  above  that. 
The  ground  here  was  carpeted  thickly  with  ferns  and  delicate 
lycopodiums  ;  the  tree -trunks  were  mossy  and  always  damp  ; 
in  the  thick  forests  the  dew  stood  on  the  leaves  until  near 
mid-day.  Perhaps  this  damp  atmosphere  and  more  luxuri- 
ant growth  betoken  the  true  limits  of  the  Upper  Amazonian 
woods  ;  to  the  eastward  the  forest  is  not  so  high,  and  it  is 
more  or  less  interrupted  by  open  campo  lands,  as  we  have 
seen  near  Paracary.  At  Curua  the  ground  is  level  and  not 
very  high,  though  out  of  reach  of  the  river-floods.  It  is  a 
rich,  sandy  clay  ;  in  places  there  is  black  loam  with  frag- 
ments of  pottery,  like  that  at  Taperinha. 

Everywhere  in  the  Curua  forest  there  are  narrow  paths 
and  trails,  made  by  the  Brazil-nut  gatherers  ;  this  is  one  of 
the  richest  nutting-grounds  on  the  Amazons  :  many  hundred 
persons  come,  in  January  and  February,  to  gather  the  fruits 
and  sell  them  to  traders. 

If  you  have  ever  thought  of  it  at  all,  you  have  sup- 
posed that  the  Brazil-nut  business  was  a  very  small  affair  ; 
hardly  worthy  to  be  called  an  industry.  You  can  conceive 
of  an  orange  commerce,  because  everybody  eats  oranges  ; 
but  who  ever  could  be  found  to  buy  Brazil-nuts  ? 

School-boys,  my  dear  sir.  This  is,  precisely,  a  com- 
merce for  school-boys.  I  fancy  that  more  than  half  of  these 
colicky  nuts,  which  employ  so  many  persons  in  the  gather- 
ing, and  so  many  ships  in  the  carrying,  reach  their  final  des- 
tination in  the  school-boy  pocket  and  the  school-boy  stom- 
ach. Here  is  a  problem  :  Given  one  million  boys,  each  of 
whom  devours  ten  Brazil-nuts  per  month  (a  small  allowance, 

THE   CURUA.  309 

surely)  ;  how  many  bushels  will  the  million  consume  in  a 
year?  Multiply  your  million  by  just  as  many  as  you  think 
proper,  to  embrace  the  school-boys  of  the  United  States, 
England,  France  and  Germany,  and  I  think  that  the  Brazil- 
nut  commerce  will  cease  to  be  a  matter  of  wonder. 

The  nuts  rank  third  in  importance  among  the  exports  ot 
the  Amazons  Valley,  the  two  first  being  rubber  and  cacao  ; 
small  quantities,  also,  are  sent  out  of  Maranhao,  and  a  few, 
perhaps,  from  the  Orinoco.  From  Para,  the  exportations 
have  greatly  increased  within  the  last  few  years,  reaching 
over  one  hundred  thousand  alqueircs  annually,  or  about 
eleven  million  pounds.  A  large  proportion  of  these  nuts 
come  from  the  rivers  Tocantins,  Xingu,  Trombetas,  and 

The  Brazil-nut  tree  *  is  superb  ;  so  high,  that  its  great, 
thick-leaved  domes  rise  sheer  above  the  forest  around,  fifty 
feet  or  more.  I  measured,  by  angulation,  one  that  was 
over  two  hundred  feet  from  root  to  crown  ;  its  magnificent, 
straight  trunk  was  fifteen  feet  through  at  least,  and  with 
never  a  branch  for  a  hundred  feet  from  the  ground.  I  have 
no  doubt  that  there  are  higher  ones  ;  but  it  is  impossible  to 
measure  them  in  the  thick  forest.  On  the  Curua,  the  other 
giants  look  like  pigmies  beside  these  ;  you  can  see  the  great 
crowns,  ten  miles  away  or  more  on  the  hill-sides.  The  Ber- 
tholletia  grows  on  low,  rich  terra  firme,  like  that  of  the 
Curua ;  never  on  the  flood-plains.  As  Senhor  Penna  has 
remarked,  the  trees  form  two  zones,  one  on  either  side  of 
the  Amazons  ;  on  the  branch  rivers  they  generally  mark  the 
limit  of  free  navigation,  where  the  rocky  terra  firme  stream 
is  merged  into  the  deep  channels  of  the  flood-plain. 

*  Bertholletia  excelsa. 

310  BRAZIL. 

The  tree  has  a  rough  bark,  and  rather  large,  dark,  glossy 
green  leaves  ;  a  varnished  green,  like  that  of  trailing  garden- 
myrtles  or  dwarf-box.  The  nuts,  sixteen  or  eighteen  to- 
gether, are  packed  away  in  a  round,  hard,  black  case,  like  a 
cocoa-nut,  but  rougher ;  nature  does  this  packing  so  neatly 
that,  once  removed,  no  puzzler  could  get  them  back  again. 
When  they  are  ripe  the  cases  fall  to  the  ground  ;  of  course, 
it  would  be  useless  to  attempt  to  gather  fruit  from  such  a 
tree  ;  and  experience  has  shown  that  picked  nuts  will  not 

With  the  incoming  of  the  nutting  season,  the  Curua  for- 
est takes  a  new^  aspect.  It  is  no  longer  silent  and  deserted  ; 
canoes  come  every  day,  with  Indians  and  half-breeds  ;  many 
with  their  families,  and  household  utensils  for  a  three  months' 
campaign  in  the  woods.  They  come  from  Obidos,  Alenquer, 
Santarem,  even  Prainha  and  Itaituba,  two  or  three  hundred 
miles  away.  Tiny,  palm-thatched  huts  are  built  along  the 
banks,  and  hammocks  are  swung  to  the  trees  ;  every  day  the 
woods  are  traversed  by  the  nut-gatherers  ;  every  night  the 
shores  are  lighted  by  their  fires. 

It  is  not  an  easy  life  :  tramping  through  many  miles  of 
the  thick  forest,  they  must  bring  in  their  day's  gathering — 
sixty  or  eighty  pounds,  perhaps — on  their  backs.  They  are 
content  to  breakfast  and  sup  on  a  bit  offish  and  a  little  man- 
dioca-meal  ;  even  these  sometimes  fail  them,  for  the  improv- 
ident people  do  not  care  to  burden  themselves  with  a  large 
stock  of  provisions  ;  besides,  their  forest-work  leaves  them 
little  time  to  fish  and  prepare  food,  and  the  wet  season  is 
always  the  time  of  scarcity.  It  is  the  time  of  fever  and 
weakness,  too.  The  Curua  village  is  healthy  enough  ;  but 
far  up  the  river,  by  the  rapids  and  along  the  narrow  side- 
streams,  the   air   is   full  of  miasma  ;  the  forests  are  reeking 

THE    CURUA.  311 

with  it.  And  it  is  there  that  the  nut-trees  are  most  abun- 
dant ;  there  hundreds  of  gatherers  are  wandering  for  weeks, 
soaked  by  the  frequent  showers,  working  Hke  beasts  of  bur- 
den, often  half-starved,  and  it  is  no  wonder  that  the  fever 
seizes  them.  It  is  not  often  directly  fatal ;  but  the  poor 
wretches  are  tortured  for  months  ;  they  have  no  medicines, 
and  they  do  not  take  care  to  provide  themselves  with  nour- 
ishing food  when  they  can  get  it ;  many  of  them  die  at 
length,  either  of  the  ague,  or  of  liver  complaints  that  are 
brought  on  by  it. 

There  are  direct  perils  also.  Sometimes  the  gatherers 
are  lost  in  the  woods.  They  told  me  of  one  American 
sailor,  who  was  lost  in  the  Curua  forest,  and  wandered  for 
seven  days,  with  no  nourishment  but  the  hard  nuts.  Luckily 
he  was  picked  up  by  the  Indians  ;  others  have  been  less  for- 
tunate. Sometimes  canoes,  loaded  with  nuts,  are  overturned 
in  the  rapids,  and  the  boatmen  are  drowned.  But  the  grand 
danger — the  one  most  dreaded — is  that  of  the  falling  nut- 
capsules.  They  are  five  inches  in  diameter,  and  weigh  two 
or  three  pounds  ;  falling  a  hundred  feet  or  more,  they  come 
crashing  through  the  branches  like  cannon  balls,  and  bury 
themselves  often  six  inches  deep  in  the  ground.  You  can 
imagine  that  a  man's  skull  would  be  small  proof  against  such 
a  missile.  The  gatherers  keep  to  their  huts  while  the  morning 
wind  is  blowing,  and  if  their  roof  is  at  all  exposed  it  is  in- 
clined strongly,  so  that  the  fruits  will  glance  off  from  it. 

While  the  fruits  are  falling,  the  gatherers  occupy  them- 
selves at  home,  cutting  open  the  hard  cases  with  their  heavy 
knives,  and  drying  the  nuts  in  the  sun.  When  the  wind  dies 
away,  men  and  women  sally  out  to  the  gathering,  bringing 
the  nuts  on  their  backs  in  great  baskets.  They  sell  them  to 
the  traders,  at  rates  varying  from  one  dollar  and  twenty-five 

312  BRAZIL. 

cents  to  two  dollars  per  alqueire,  according  to  the  abundance 
or  poverty  of  the  harvest.  Besides  the  two  stores  at  Curua, 
which  do  their  most  thriving  business  during  the  nutting 
season,  there  are  always  trading  canoes,  well  stocked  with 
smaller  wares.  The  traders,  as  usual,  keep  the  peasants  in 
debt,  and  often  cheat  them  unconscionably,  making  them 
pay  two  or  three  times  over,  perhaps  ;  for  none  of  the  poor 
people  can  keep  accounts,  or  would  if  they  could.  At 
Curua,  the  store-keepers  often  give  credit  for  six  or  eight 
months,  until  the  yearly  nut-harvest  comes  in  to  their  store- 
houses. It  must  be  said  that  the  peasants  very  seldom  shirk 
their  obligations  entirely,  though  they  are  never  in  haste  to  pay. 

The  traders  dry  the  nuts  frequently  in  hot  sunshine ; 
finally,  they  are  packed  in  baskets  and  shipped  to  Para,  al- 
ways, of  course,  under  the  credit  system  :  for  the  Para  mer- 
chant receives  these  cargoes  in  payment  of  debts  incurred  by 
the  river-merchant  or  traders.  From  Para  they  are  shipped 
as  soon  as  possible  :  largely  to  England  and  the  United 
States,  but  a  few  go  to  France,  Portugal,  and  Germany. 
The  nuts  do  not  keep  well  in  this  climate,  and  merchants 
always  avoid  an  accumulation  of  them. 

The  prices  in  Para,  as  reckoned  in  the  custom-house,  vary 
from  two  and  one-quarter  to  three  and  one-half  cents  per 
pound  ;  allowing  for  the  profits  of  the  commission  merchant, 
it  must  be  somewhat  more.  The  export  duties  (1878)  are  no 
less  than  thirty-six  per  cent.,  including  the  provincial  and 
municipal  taxes,  and  those  of  the  General  Government. 

The  fresh  nuts  are  really  very  nice  ;  but  it  is  a  matter  of 
wonder  to  me  that  I  could  ever  have  liked  the  stale  things  I 
used  to  buy  in  the  grocery  stores.  Yet  I  remember  that  my 
school-boy  taste  was  not  superior  to  raw  and  unseasoned 
artichokes,  and  wild  elderberries.     Well,  well ! 

THE   CURUA.  313 

There  is  another  Amazonian  nut  that  seldom  reaches  our 
markets — the  sapucaia.*^  The  tree  is  hardly  less  grand  than 
the  Bertholletia,  but  it  has  a  wide,  umbrella-like  crown,  and 
buttressed  roots ;  it  grows,  too,  indifferently  on  the  terra 
firme,  or  in  the  swamps,  or  on  the  edge  of  the  flood-plains. 
The  fruit-capsule  is  as  large  as  a  man's  head,  or  larger,  and 
very  thick.  It  is  closed  above  (or  rather,  beneath,  as  it  hangs 
from  the  branches)  by  a  round  lid  ;  when  the  fruit  is  ripe, 
this  lid  drops  out,  and  the  nuts  fall  to  the  ground.  As  they 
have  now  no  hard  case  to  protect  them,  they  are  soon  de- 
voured by  the  forest  animals  ;  monkeys,  various  rodents,  and 
birds  seek  them  eagerly ;  so,  though  the  tree  is  common 
enough,  it  happens  that  only  a  few  nuts  are  left  for  the 
gatherers  ;  consequently  they  are  more  valuable,  selling  regu- 
larly at  three  times  the  price  of  the  Brazil-nuts.  The  sapu- 
caias  are  much  better,  too  ;  when  fresh  they  are  delicious, 
and  highly  prized  by  the  Brazilians  themselves ;  but  they  do 
not  keep  well.  Most  of  them  go  to  the  London  market. 
They  are  rather  smaller  than  the  Brazil-nuts,  lighter-colored, 
and  very  irregular  in  shape.  These  nuts  are  so  valuable,  and 
in  point  of  fact  so  common,  that  it  seems  a  pity  to  leave  them 
to  waste.  Perhaps  some  means  might  be  devised  for  protect- 
ing the  fallen  fruit  from  animals  ;  but  I  confess  that  no  feas- 
ible one  occurs  to  me. 

These  two  nut-trees  are  valuable  in  other  respects.  Both 
of  them,  it  is  said,  furnish  excellent  timber  for  ship-building  ; 
the  fibrous  bark  of  the  Bertholletia  is  used  for  calking  canoes, 
for  stuffing  saddles,  and  so  on  ;  probably  it  might  make  a 
good  paper-fibre.  But  the  Brazilians  wisely  discourage  such 
destruction  ;    both  the  trees    grow  very  slowly,  and  do   not 

*  Lecvthis  ollaria. 

314  BRAZIL. 

bear  fruit  until  they  are  very  large.  It  would  be  a  pity  to 
spoil  patriarchs  that  have  been  a  thousand  years  or  more  in 

Sometimes  my  walks  were  along  the  edge  of  the  flood- 
plains  ;  almost  always  there  is  a  path  running  through  the 
meadow-land,  where  it  adjoins  the  forest ;  and  the  plants  and 
insects  in  such  places  are  peculiar.  In  the  dry  season  these 
paths  are  very  pleasant ;  but  as  the  waters  rise  they  become 
impassable,  and  then  the  only  communication  is  by  canoe. 
Most  of  the  settlements  are  on  projecting  points  of  terra 
firme,  and  the  paths  cut  across  the  bays  of  varzea  between  ; 
but  the  outline  of  the  highland  is  so  irregular,  that  a  flood- 
season  path  from  point  to  point  would  necessitate  detours  of 
ten  or  fifteen  miles  around  the  varzea  bays. 

One  of  these  summer  paths  leads  from  Curua  to  the 
neighboring  settlement  of  MaciLvdy  about  two  miles.  I  will 
describe  it,  because  it  shows  well  the  variety  of  ground  that 
one  finds  along  the  edge  of  the  Amazonian  plains.  At  first 
the  trail  leads  through  a  strip  of  low  terra  firme  forest ;  this 
is  partly  second  growth,  but  so  thick  with  saplings  and  mat- 

*A  clear  oil,  like  olive-oil,  is  obtained  from  the  Brazil-nuts  by  the  following  pro- 
cess :  The  nuts  are  roasted  and  the  meats  extracted  ;  in  this  condition  they  have  a 
very  rich  flavor.  They  are  pounded  in  a  wooden  mortar,  and  pressed  and  strained 
in  a  iipiti,  when  the  oil  runs  out.  It  is  used  for  cooking  and  for  lamps ;  excellent 
white  soap  can  be  made  from  it.  Another,  clearer  and  sweeter  oil,  is  obtained  in  a 
similar  manner  from  unroasted  nuts ;  this  is  excellent  for  table  use.  See  Barboza 
Rodriguez,  Relatorio  sobre  o  Rio  Trombetas,  p.  17.  He  suggests  that,  with  proper 
machinery,  the  business  of  extracting  this  oil  might  be  very  profitable.  Prepara- 
tions from  the  bark  and  nut-capsules  are  sometimes  used  in  Brazil  as  emollient 
medicines,  and  for  ague.  Chernoviz  (Formulario,  eighth  edition,  p.  553)  says  that 
a  decoction  of  the  sapucaia-bark  is  prepared  with  eighteen  parts  of  water  to  one 
part  of  bark.  A  tincture,  sometimes  used  for  catarrh,  is  made  from  the  nut-cap- 
sules of  the  sapucaia,  by  keeping  water  in  them  for  several  hours.  As  a  remedy, 
this  water  is  taken,  cold,  as  often  as  the  patient  desires.  Only  the  fresh  shells  can 
be  used. 

THE   CURUA.  315 

ted  vines  that  it  is  almost  impossible  to  leave  the  path  at  all. 
There  are  not  many  palms  here  ;  the  few  scattered  ones  are 
spiny  iiicumds*  and  small  inarajdsA  The  trees  are  such  as 
I  have  described  elsewhere  in  the  forest,  slow-growing  kinds, 
most  of  them,  and  valuable  for  timber.  The  ground  is  cov- 
ered with  moss-like  lycopodiums. 

A  little  farther  on,  the  path  descends  almost  impercepti- 
bly, and  at  once  there  is  an  entire  change  in  the  vegetation. 
This  is  baixa  land,  within  reach  of  the  river  floods  ;  nearly 
all  the  trees  are  different  from  those  of  the  main  forest  ; 
the  majority  are  valueless  for  timber,  too  soft,  and  rotting 
easily.  The  scattered  tucuma  and  maraja  palms  are  replaced 
by  groves  of  vmriLitLuriisX  bristling  with  black  spines  like 
bayonets,  and  occasionally  a  clean-cut,  stately  iiauassii.% 
There  are  hardly  any  vines,  and  the  undergrowth  is  made 
up  of  large-leaved,  succulent  plants ;  royal  weeds,  that  would 
be  admirable  if  they  were  root  bound  in  flower-pots,  and  shut 
up  in  conservatories.  But,  look  you.  Nature's  conservatory 
has  an  art  that  you  never  dreamed  of.  These  great,  glossy 
leaves  have  three  tints  :  one  dark,  almost  black  :  that  is  the 
ground  work,  from  diffuse  light  in  the  forest  ;  one  bright 
color,  white,  like  water  against  a  clear  sky  :  that  is  the  re- 
flected sunlight;  finally,  an  indescribable  rich  green, — chloro- 
phyl  green,  which  no  painter  could  ever  imitate  :  you  get 
that  by  refracted,  not  reflected,  sunlight.  ||  Well,  but  you 
spoil  all  this  ;  you  take  forest-plants  and  set  them  in  the 
broad  sunlight,  so  the  three  colors  are  all  run  together  into 

*  Astrocaryum  tucuma.  t  Bactris,  sp.  var. 

+  Astrocaryum  murumuru.  §  Attalea  speciosa. 

II  If  you  will  see  it  to  perfection,  lie  down  under  a  great  dock — I  used  to  when  I 
was  a  child — and  watch  the  light  filtered  through  these  splendid  shields  and  coming 
to  your  eyes  like  balm. 

3l6  BRAZIL. 

an  ugly  tint  that  Nature  is  ashamed  of.  She  tries  to  better 
it  by  modifying  the  plant  for  its  new  life  ;  but  she  cannot  do 
that  in  one  or  two  generations  ;  give  her  time  and  she  will 
arrange  the  chlorophyl,  and  shining  cover,  and  wood-cells,  so 
that  you  will  have  a  plant  for  open  sunlight ;  but  it  will  not 
be  the  forest-plant,  any  more  than  a  poodle-dog  is  a  wolf. 
At  present  your  plant  is  good  only  in  outline,  and  even  that 
is  not  perfect,  for  the  leaves  are  ashamed  and  headachey,  and 
go  drooping. 

Now  see  how  Nature  does  it.  She  gives  plenty  of  space 
to  the  dark  groundwork,  because  she  will  not  spoil  her  plan 
by  excess  of  tinting.  Then  she  sends  light-streaks  down 
through  the  forest-roof;  half  a  dozen  leaves  catch  them,  and 
glow  like  diamonds.  Then  she  drops  a  beam  behind  one  or 
two  great  shields,  and  they  turn  semi-transparent  and  liquid 
with  the  magnificent  chlorophyl  green.  Observe,  she  keeps 
the  outlines  ;  as  a  whole,  the  work  is  perfect,  and  then  she 
perfects  perfection  with  these  exquisite  touches — these  lights 
that  have  no  outline. 

The  soil  in  the  high  forest  is  sandy,  and  the  ground  is 
covered,  as  I  have  said,  with  lycopodiums  or  ferns  ;  but  here 
in  the  baixas  it  is  dark,  bare  clay,  cracked  where  it  has  dried 
after  the  floods.  This  open  forest  is  very  characteristic  of 
the  lowlands  ;  in  most  places  you  can  walk  between  the  trees 
without  much  difficulty. 

After  this,  the  path  emerges  from  the  forest  and  crosses  a 
great  tongue  of  open  meadow-land,  which  reaches  for  two  or 
three  miles  into  the  terra  firme.  This  meadow  is  not  clean 
grass-land,  such  as  we  see  about  some  of  the  varzea-lakes  ;  it 
has  thickets  of  prickly  mimosas — long  lines,  always  parallel 
to  the  forest-edge, — and  everywhere  there  are  bright  flower- 
ing weeds  of  fifty  kinds.     In  the  middle  of  the  meadow  there 

THE    CURUA.  317 

Is  a  stream  that  we  must  cross — a  row  of  pools,  hardly  seen 
in  the  grass,  but  marked  here  and  there  by  small,  fan-leaved 
palms,  carandsy"  As  at  Curicaca,  the  great  tongue  of  mea- 
dow-land is  the  flood-plain  of  the  little  igarape. 

Generally  a  few  cattle  are  grazing  on  the  meadow  and 
pushing  their  way  through  the  mimosa-thickets.  Flocks  of 
black  japi'i  birds f  flutter  in  the  bushes  and  whistle  plaintive- 
ly ;  there  are  troupials,  with  bright  red  breasts,:];  and  roiixi- 
7iols,%  like  orioles,  and  smaller  birds  without  number ;  for 
these  strips  of  meadow  are  favorite  feeding-places  for  the 
lowland  birds.  I  found  insects  on  the  mimosa-bushes,  but 
the  species  were  not  numerous.  There  were  plenty  of 
ground-beetles,  difficult  to  find  except  when  they  were  fly- 
ing in  the  twilight ;  then  I  caught  them  by  hundreds.  Most 
of  the  meadow  insects  are  gregarious  ;  the  forest  species  are 
solitary,  and  much  more  difficult  to  find. 

On  the  other  side  of  this  tongue  of  lowland,  the  terra- 
firme  forest  comes  down  to  the  meadow,  and  here  there  is 
another  set  of  plants.  The  superb  uauassii  palm  is  in  its 
glory — smooth-stemmed,  straight  as  an  arrow,  and  the  broad, 
shining  leaves  twenty-five  feet  long.  Back  of  these  there 
are  thick-leaved  trees,  some  of  them  peculiar  to  the  ground  ; 
you  see  patauds  ||  taking  the  place  of  the  uauassiis  ;  and 
back  of  all  is  the  great,  rolling  forest,  the  Brazil-nut  trees 
towering  over  it  with  domes  a  hundred  feet  across  :  all  this 
in  contrast  to  the  sunny  meadows,  and  the  placid  lake,  and 
the  cloudless  sky. 

Lake  jMacura  receives  a  little  tortuous  igarape  ;  it  is  nar- 
row, and  deep,   and  swift,  navigable  for  large   canoes,   and 

•*  Mauritia  carana.  t  Cassicus  cristatus  ? 

X  Trupialis  Guianensis.  §  Cassicus,  sp. 

Ij  CEnocarpus  pataua. 



the  banks  are  sharply  cut.  These  features  distinguish  it 
from  cabeceiras,  that  come  from  springs  in  the  terra  firme, 
and  subside  into  rows  of  pools  when  they  enter  the  points 

ofvarzea.   The 
Maniatirii  is  a 

fiiro,  flowing 
from  the  Ama- 
z  o  n  s  below 
Obidos  ;  it  is 
miles  long,  at 
least,  and  com- 
municates with 
a  dozen  lakes. 
Through  Lake 
Macura  its 
waters  join 
those  of  the 
Curua,  and  so 
the  highland 
river,  before  it 
flows  into  Lake 
Curua,  gets  its 
little  contribu- 
tion of  Ama- 
zonian   water, 

Highland   Stream. 

just  as  the  Tapajos  does.      This  is  a  rule  which  hardly  varies 
with  the  Amazonian  tributaries. 

I  made  the  acquaintance  of  the  Macura  peasants  ;  simple 
people,  like  the  rest,  and  lazy,  of  course.  These  afternoon 
landscapes  have  such  an  endless  repose  about  them  :  no 
more  idea  of  activity  than  one  of  the  cows,  dreamily  chew- 

THE   CURUA.  319 

ing  her  cud  out  there  on  the  meadow.  The  trees  are  asleep, 
the  plains  are  asleep,  the  lake  is  asleep  ;  and  mine  host 
lounges  in  his  hammock,  and  is  drowsy,  whether  he  will  own 
it  or  not.  Sit  you  in  another  hammock,  and  drowse  or 
sleep  ;  do  not  disturb  his  repose  :   so  shall  it  be  sweet. 

But  back  of  the  forest  I  found  a  bit  of  the  outside  world. 
One  morning  I  walked  up  to  the  head  of  this  tongue  of 
meadow-land  that  I  have  described  ;  it  ended  in  a  strip  of 
baixa  forest,  through  which  there  flowed  a  bright,  sparkling 
stream  ;  you  would  not  have  recognized  it  in  the  sluggish 
pools  below.  In  the  baixa  I  found  tree-ferns  indescrib- 
able, and  lovely  assai  palms  ;  on  the  other  side  there  was  a 
neat  clearing,  and  a  man  planting  tobacco  in  it.  He  was  a 
middle-aged  man,  thin  and  dark,  evidently  a  half-breed  ;  he 
had  a  little  house  in  the  clearing,  and  his  nicely-dressed  wife 
was  sitting  inside,  sewing. 

The  man  had  come  from  the  mining  districts  of  Southern 
Brazil ;  he  had  wandered  over  the  province  of  Para,  every- 
where seeking  for  gold,  with  that  hopefulness  that  is  the 
gold-seeker's  blessing  or  curse.  He  took  me  back  five  or  six 
miles  into  the  forest,  and  showed  me  where  he  had  washed 
sand  from  the  bed  of  a  stream  ;  the  stream  was  full  of  diorite 
and  sandstone  bowlders,  but  I  saw  no  proof  of  gold,  and  told 
him  so.  He  said  he  had  seen  a  gold  specimen  from  this  very 
place  ;  an  Alenquer  man  had  shown  it  to  him  at  Para,  and 
you  could  not  deceive  him,  an  old  miner.  These  mythical 
specimens  are  forever  spoken  of  on  the  Amazons,  but  I  could 
never  get  a  sight  of  one  that  was  more  than  pyrites  or  mica. 
I  see  no  reason  why  there  should  not  be  gold  to  the  north 
and  south  of  the  Amazons,  but  I  question  if  it  has  ever  been 

My  wealth-seeking  friend  had  a  fine  little  plantation,  and 

320  BRAZIL. 

a  pleasant  home,   as  things   go  with   the  peasants  ;  he   was 
sober  and  industrious  in  the  main,  which  they  are  not,  al- 
ways.    But  their  happiness  was  not  his  :  he  lacked  content- 
ment.     His   sharp   eyes   wandered   restlessly  ;    he   asked  me 
questions  about  my  travels,  and  the  rivers  I  had  explored. 
He  must  go  to  Para,  he  said  ;  the  children  there — two  naked, 
brown   cherubs  —  were   still   pagans    {i.  e.,   unbaptized),   and 
should  be  made  Christians  at  the  capital ;    for  no,   Senhor, 
the  Alenquer  priest  could  not  do  it.     Captain  T.  had  prom- 
ised to   stand   their   godfather,   and    the   captain   was   to   be 
sought  in  Para,  and  in   fact,  they  must  all  go  down  there  as 
soon  as  the  harvest  was  in  ;  they  could  return,  etc.,  etc.     All 
of  which  meant  that  he  had  been  in  one  spot  long  enough. 
Well,  here  was  a  man  a  shade  more  intelligent  than  the  In- 
dians ;   consequently,  better  able  to  take  care  of  himself ;   but 
he  went  twitching  all  over  in  a  nervous  seeking  for  wealth 
he  would  never  get,  and  change  that  would  never  satisfy  him 
to  his  dying  day  ;   and  the  Indians  repose  and  are  filled  with 
peace.       So   goes   the   world  ;    and   I   have   been   pinning   a 
homily  to  my  physical  geography. 

To  return  to  Curua  :  Braz  Correa,  as  I  have  said,  was  the 
village  schoolmaster ;  a  jolly,  twinkling,  good-natured  old 
fellow,  whose  school  was  his  pride  and  delight.  There  was 
no  priest  in  the  settlement  ;  but  Braz,  an  enthusiast  in  mu- 
sic, taught  the  young  people  to  sing  very  sweetly.  They 
gathered,  every  Saturday  night,  in  the  tiny  thatched  chapel, 
and  chanted  the  beautiful,  plaintive  Portuguese  hymns,  with 
voices  so  clear  and  pure  that  the  boatmen  on  the  river  paused 
to  hear  them,  and  one  by  one  the  villagers  gathered  before 
the  chapel  door  with  uncovered  heads  and  whispered  words. 
The  old  man  stood  there  before  the  shrine,  happy  in  the  con- 
sciousness of  his  high  position,  devotional  but   watchful,   a 

THE   CURUA.  321 

leader,  every  inch  of  him.  I  thought  to  myself,  how  much 
purer  in  spirit  this  man  was  than  the  unctuous,  bad-faced 
Alenquer  priest,  mumbling  through  a  mass  that  was  profanity 
on  such  lips.  Braz  Correa  would  have  bowed  low  before 
him,  and  taken  his  dirty  blessing  as  pure  gold.  Well,  even 
the  priest  could  not  have  spoiled  a  blessing  for  Braz  ;  the 
gold  comes  from  a  higher  source. 

One  day  the  schoolmaster's  baby-grandchild  died,  very 
suddenly.  The  mother  had  called  me  in  haste  to  know  if  I 
could  save  it  ;  but  the  disease — a  very  bad  case  of  croup — 
was  far  beyond  my  poor  little  medicine-case.  The  woman 
was  very  grateful,  nevertheless.  Next  morning  Braz  came 
to  me,  with  an  important  face,  and  his  tightly-buttoned,  cere- 
monious coat.  The  child,  he  said,  was  to  be  buried  as  an 
anginho,  little  angel,  and  he  ventured  to  ask  so  distinguished 
a  gentleman,  etc.,  etc. — in  short,  would  I  come  to  the  funeral  ? 
I  went,  of  course.  Half  the  people  in  the  village  were  there, 
most  of  the  crowd  barefooted  and  coatless,  but  as  well-behaved 
as  one  could  wish.  Braz  showed  me  into  a  room,  where  mu- 
sicians were  tuning  their  instruments  :  a  violin,  a  flute,  and  a 
drum.  Presently  the  little  corpse  was  brought  in  and  laid  on 
a  table.  The  women  had  dressed  it  in  some  pretty  light 
muslin,  on  which  gilt  stars  were  pasted  ;  puffs  at  the  shoul- 
ders represented  wings  ;  a  paper  crown  was  on  the  head,  and 
the  hands  held  a  paper-covered  sceptre.  The  body  rested  in 
a  frame  or  box,  like  a  truncated  wedge  ;  the  frame  was 
covered  with  bright  red  calico  ;  the  bottom  was  of  cloth, 
instead  of  boards.  Two  boys,  pupils  in  the  schools,  were 
deputed  to  carry  the  box  ;  four  ribbons,  attached  to  the  body, 
were  given  to  as  many  men  of  the  party,  Braz  assigning  to 
me  the  place  of  honor,  on  the  right  side  in  front.      Now  the 

musicians  struck  up  a  lively  tune,  and  a  rocket  or  two  whizzed 

322  BRAZIL. 

outside  the  door  ;  so  the  procession  filed  out,  the  body  fol- 
lowing, and  the  women  of  the  family  mingling  with  the  other 
villagers  behind.  We  turned  off  through  a  coffee-orchard, 
where  we  had  to  stoop  to  avoid  the  branches.  Beyond  this, 
in  an  open  field,  the  grave  had  been  dug.  There  was  no 
further  ceremony  ;  one  of  the  boys  took  the  body,  box  and 
all,  in  his  arms,  and  laid  it  in  the  grave.  Somebody  cried 
that  the  head  Vv^as  toward  the  west, — a  violation,  I  suppose, 
of  the  usage  here  ;  when  this  was  righted,  the  cover  was  laid 
over  the  box.  Whether  the  frame  was  too  low,  or  whether 
the  cloth  bottom,  resting  on  the  uneven  surface,  left  a  projec- 
tion under  the  head,  certain  it  is  that  the  cover  rested  on  the 
child's  nose.  One  of  the  boys  observed  this,  and  stamped  It 
down  with  his  heel,  the  others  looking  on  unconcernedly. 
Then  every  one  pulled  in  a  little  earth  with  the  hands,*  and 
Braz  left  two  to  fill  the  grave,  while  the  crowd  went  back, 
laughing  and  talking. 

I  remained  at  Curua  for  more  than  a  week,  and  finally  left 
the  village,  with  a  small  but  good  crew  of  three  men.  Much 
against  my  will,  I  was  obliged  to  leave  Antonio  behind  ;  little 
Feliciano,  I  felt  sure,  was  too  young  to  brave  the  fevers  and 
exposure  of  the  upper  river,  and  the  father  utterly  refused  to 
part  with  him,  though  I  offered  to  pay  for  the  child's  board 
during  our  absence.  He  thanked  me  for  my  offer,  and  went 
away,  finally,  with  perfect  good  nature.  I  heartily  recom- 
mend him  to  any  traveller  that  may  pass  that  way. 

The  river  above  Curua  varies  in  width  from  one  hundred 
and  fifty  to  three  hundred  yards  ;  the  current,  as  I  found  it 
in  October,  is  moderately  rapid,  and  the  channel  pretty  deep  ; 

^  This  was  an  aboriginal  custom  with  certain  tribes  of  the  Tupi  race  ;  it  is  found 
also  in  the  Old  World,  and  traces  of  it  have  survived  in  our  church  and  masonic 
burial  services. 



water  slightly  clay-stained,  gray  or  brown.  After  passing 
the  village,  the  banks,  for  a  long  distance,  are  steeply  cut, 
and  lined  with  varzea  woods — rich  masses  coming  down  to 
the  water's  edge,  and  leaving  only  glimpses  of  the  shadowy 
crlades  within.  Most  of  the  trees  are  like  those  lining;  the 
main  Amazons  from  the  Rio  Negro  to  the  Xingu  ;  exogen- 
ous species,  with  only  a  few  palms  scattered  here  and  there. 
On  the  western  side, 
this  varzea-forest  is 
continuous  with  that 
of  the  highland  ;  to 
the  east,  it  forms  a 
narrow  strip,  beyond 
which  there  are  open 
meadows  extending 
to  Alenquer.  At 
long  intervals  we 
passed  little  settle- 
ments on  the  banks, 
four  or  five  houses 
together.  I  jotted 
down  their  sonorous 
Indian  names  on  my 
sketch-map,  with  the 
points  and  bends  as 
we  went  by  them.  Even  the  sand-banks  have  names  ;  the 
first  is  only  a  few  miles  above  the  village,  and  from  thence  to 
the  falls,  every  one  is  written  down  in  my  note-book. 

The  last  houses  on  the  main  river  are  at  Urucuritiia,  per- 
haps twenty  miles  above  Curua  ;  here  we  stopped  for  the 
night,  the  Indian  owner  receiving  us  very  hospitably.  In 
the  end,  he  agreed  to  go  with  me  to  the  falls,  and  he  proved 

Tne  River-snore,  Curua. 

324  BRAZIL. 

a  most  welcome  addition  to  my  small  crew.  The  men  were 
all  in  good  spirits,  and  thoroughly  enjoying  the  trip,  so  that 
everything,  thus  far,  was  as  it  should  be. 

A  mile  above  Urucuritua,  we  visited  the  singular  little 
Igarapc'-picJiiina  (Black  Creek),  which  flows  out  of  the  Curua, 
entering  it  again  five  miles  below,  so  as  to  cut  off  a  large 
island.  This  island  is  not  a  mere  tract  of  the  flood-plain  ;  it 
contains  high  as  well  as  low  land,  and  the  igarape  is  a  se- 
ries of  pools  and  lakes  rather  than  a  steady  stream ;  the  water 
is  dark  with  vegetable  matter,  and  covered  everywhere  with 
beautiful  aquatic  plants.  A  mile  from  the  river  we  found  a 
fisherman's  camp,  with  festoons  of  pirarucii  drying  all  around 
it ;  the  pools  were  full  of  fish,  which  had  hardly  been  touched 
before,  so  the  harvest  was  remarkably  abundant. 

Towards  noon  we  passed  the  little  river  Mamia,  flowing 
into  the  Curua  from  the  west ;  it  is  navigable  only  for  a  short 
distance.  At  four  o'clock  in  the  afternoon  we  landed  on  the 
eastern  side,  where  was  a  path  running  across  to  the  Igai^apc 
Capail ;  here  lived  the  negro,  Manuel,  of  great  fame  in  these 
parts.  Manuel  had  been  chief  of  a  colony  of  fugitive  slaves, 
which  was  located  for  a  long  time  on  the  Upper  Curua  ;  as 
these  negroes  were  the  only  people  who  knew  anything 
about  the  falls,  I  was  naturally  anxious  to  secure  one  for  a 
guide.  While  at  Curua,  I  had  heard  much  of  Manuel,  who 
lived,  so  it  was  said,  in  the  deep  woods,  fearing  to  see  a 
white  man,  lest  he  should  be  carried  back  into  slavery  ;  to 
gain  his  good-will  I  had  sent  him  some  trifling  presents, 
with  word  that  I  would  call  on  him  on  my  way  up  the  river. 
We  crossed  now  to  the  igarape,  a  sluggish  row  of  pools,  like 
the  Igarape-pichuna  ;  there  was  no  sign  of  a  habitation  on 
the  farther  bank  ;  but  after  much  calling,  a  canoe  appeared, 
paddled  by  Manuel's  two  strapping  sons.     They  were  naked 



to  the  waist,  and  looked  wild  enough  ;  I  could  hardly  un- 
derstand their  broken  negro-Portuguese.  However,  they 
greeted  me  cordially,  and  put  me  across  the  igarape  to  a 
little  hidden  path  among  the  bushes  ;  following  this  for  a 
quarter  of  a  mile,  w^e  came  out  to  a  tiny  plantation,  where 
were  two  palm-thatched  huts,  so   small  and  mean   that  any 

Manuel's   Hut. 

Indian  would  have  been  ashamed  of  them.  Manuel  was 
seated  before  one  hut,  smoking  a  clay  pipe,  while  his  little, 
fat  wife  superintended  a  kettle  of  monkey-broth  near  by. 
He  rose  to  meet  me — a  grizzled  old  man,  slightly  bent,  but 
bright-eyed  and  strong-limbed  as  you  would  wish  to  see. 
For  thirty  years  at  least  he  had  lived  in  the  forest,  only 
visiting  the  settlements  by  stealth,  and  at  long  intervals. 

The  Curua  miicainbo  (so  they  call  these  colonies)  ex- 
isted as  early  as  the  beginning  of  the  century,  and  perhaps 
long  before.     At  first  it  was  located  near  the  lower  falls,  on 

326  BRAZIL. 

the  Igarape  Branco  ;  after  an  inroad  of  soldiers,  the  negroes 
fled  up  the  river,  and  estabhshed  themselves  far  above  the 
falls  ;  years  later  they  were  driven  out  again,  and  then  they 
fled  still  farther  to  the  unknown  interior.  They  had  planta- 
tions of  mandioca,  and  the  river  gave  them  plenty  of  fish  ; 
gradually  new  parties  came  to  join  them,  until  the  mucambo 
numbered  two  hundred  souls  or  more.  Sometimes  they 
came  down  to  Alenquer  by  a  secret  path  through  the  woods, 
entering  the  village  at  night  to  exchange  their  forest  produce 
for  knives,  guns,  powder,  etc.  ;  certain  merchants  had  a  reg- 
ular trade  with  them,  always  carried  on  clandestinely,  of 
course,  but  every  one  knew  that  such  a  business  existed,  and 
two  or  three  men  were  strongly  suspected  of  having  a  hand 
in  it. 

In  1876,  people  heard  with  astonishment  that  the  Curua 
imicamhistos  had  voluntarily  given  themselves  up  to  the 
authorities  at  Alenquer.  The  reason  given  was,  that  per- 
nicious fevers  had  appeared  above  the  falls,  carrying  off  a 
large  number  of  the  negroes.  Be  this  as  it  may,  a  great 
wooden  canoe  appeared  at  Alenquer,  with  one  hundred  and 
sixty-seven  fugitives  on  board.  The  most  of  them  were  re- 
turned to  their  masters  ;  I  was  told  that  those  who  had  been 
born  in  the  mucambo — a  large  number — were  set  at  liberty. 
Manuel  was  freed,  and  this,  with  other  circumstances,  led  to 
the  pretty  general  supposition  that  the  fevers,  after  all,  were 
not  the  prime  cause  of  the  exodus.  It  was  whispered  that 
the  mucambistos  came  down  on  Manuel's  representation  that 
they  would  receive  their  liberty  ;  that  his  own  freedom  was 
the  price  of  his  treachery.  I  could  not  discover  if  there  was 
any  truth  in  these  rumors  ;  the  old  man  sedulously  avoided 
all  allusion  to  the  subject,  and  I  did  not  care  to  irritate  him 
by  useless  questions. 



There  was  still  a  remnant  of  the  colony  left  above  the 
falls.  The  Delegado  de  Policia  at  Alenquer  sent  a  party  of 
soldiers  to  dislodge  them,  and  they  did  finally  succeed  in 
bringing  them  all  away  ;  but  not  until  the  soldiers,  and  ne- 
groes too,  had  suffered  fearfully  from  the  fevers.  Many 
died ;  not  one  of  the  soldiers,  it  is  said,  escaped  without  a 
long  sickness. 

There  are  other  mucambos  scattered  about  the  Amazonian 
tributaries;  one,  on  the  Curua  de  Santarem,  numbers  some 
hundred  souls.  *  But  the  most  extensive  of  all  is  on  the 
Upper  Trombetas.  If  we  can  believe  the  common  report,  it 
contains  over  two  thousand  negroes,  many  of  whom  have 
never  seen  a  white  man.  Several  attempts  have  been  made 
to  break  up  this  village,  but  each  expedition  has  returned 
with  fever  and  disappointment ;  the  negroes  burn  their  huts 
and  fly  to  the  woods  on  the  slightest  alarm.  The  fugitives 
know  the  country,  but  the  soldiers  are  utterly  ignorant  of  it ; 
they  wander  vainly  about  the  rapids  until  the  dreaded  ague 
seizes  them,  and  they  are  glad  enough  to  get  away  with  their 
lives.  Obidos  merchants  enrich  themselves,  trading  with  the 
fugitives,  who  come  down  at  all  seasons,  and  even  in  broad 
daylight,  bringing  tobacco  and  forest  drugs  for  sale.  Some- 
times they  are  recognized,  but  they  always  get  away  in  time, 
and  the  traders  give  early  warning  of  any  fresh  raid.  It  is 
said  that  these  Trombetas  negroes  have  indirect  communica- 
tion with  Guiana,  trading  through  the  medium  of  Indian 
tribes  who  inhabit  the  mountain  region. f     The  Trombetas 

*  Recently,  I  am  told,  this  colony  has  been  driven  out  by  an  incursion  of  Indians 
from  the  interior. 

t  It  is  so  stated  in  a  letter  of  Joao  Maximiano  de  Souza,  leader  of  one  of  the  ex- 
peditions against  this  Trombetas  colony.  The  letter  was  published  in  the  ^^Baixo 
Amazonas^''  a  Santarem  journal. 

328  BRAZIL. 

mucambistos  are  greatly  feared  by  the  Brazilians,  who  de- 
clare that  no  man's  life  is  safe  among  them.  However,  a 
friend  of  mine  visited  some  of  their  villages,  and  he  found 
them  very  well-disposed  people,  not  a  little  afraid  of  their 
guest.  Let  us  hope  that  when  the  emancipation  law  has 
done  its  work,  these  half-savage  villages  may  become  useful 
and  civilized  communities. 

Manuel  would  not  go  with  me  ;  he  was  old,  he  said,  and 
could  not  brave  the  rapids  again  ;  besides,  he  must  make  a 
clearing  for  next  year's  planting.  Luckily,  however,  I  found 
another  negro  here,  one  Rufino,  who  had  been  born  in  the 
mucambo,  and  was  therefore  free.  After  much  talking,  I 
persuaded  him  to  go  to  the  falls  with  me,  but  he  declared 
that  my  canoe  was  too  large  for  the  ascent ;  it  would  have  to 
be  dragged  around  the  rapids,  and  with  my  small  force  this 
would  be  almost  impossible.  I  had,  indeed,  tried  to  get  a 
smaller  canoe  for  the  falls,  but  none  was  to  be  had  at  Curua. 
It  was  now  too  late  to  remedy  the  error,  and  I  resolved  to 
go  on  with  the  boat  I  had,  trusting  to  find  the  obstacles  less 
formidable  than  they  were  reported.  I  have  since  regretted 
that  I  did  not  go  back  to  Curua,  or  even  to  Alenquer,  for 
a  small  canoe. 

We  camped,  for  this  night,  by  the  Capaii  path  ;  luckily, 
I  had  a  mosquito-net  to  throw  over  my  hammock,  but  the 
men  suffered  grievously.  In  the  morning  we  were  off  be- 
times, making  quick  progress  now,  with  five  stout  paddlers. 
The  river,  through  all  this  region,  is  shallow,  with  numerous 
sand-islands.  In  long  dry  seasons,  it  is  reduced  to  a  mere 
row  of  pools,  with  a  thin  stream  connecting  them.  The 
flood-plain  is  narrowed,  so  that  little  points  of  terra  firme 
appear  at  short  intervals.  I  never  had  any  difficulty  in 
recognizing  these  points  ;  even  when  they  were  hardly  raised 

THE   CURUA.  329 

above  the  varzea,  the  changed  vegetation  was  an  unfailing 
mark.  The  varzea  woods  are  darker  and  more  varied  ; 
there  are  urucury  *  and  maraja  f  palms,  taking  the  place 
of  the  great  uauassus  |  and  inajas  §  of  the  terra  firme  ;  above 
all,  the  giant  Brazil-nut  trees  always  indicate  high  land, 
even  far  back  from  the  river. 

Shortly  above  Capau,  Rufino  pointed  out  some  deserted 
houses,  where  the  mucambistos  had  lived  for  a  time,  after 
they  descended  the  river.  At  this  place,  Pacoval,  I  made  a 
lucky  geological  discovery.  There  were  banks  of  clay  by 
the  river,  and  I  noticed  two  or  three  bits  of  shale  rock  crop- 
ping out  from  it  ;  digging  away  the  clay,  I  uncovered  a  large 
bed  of  the  shale,  much  decomposed,  but  full  of  beautiful 
fossil-shells,  all  of  the  Carboniferous  Period.  On  my  return, 
I  made  a  very  large  collection  here. 

I  found  fossils,  also,  on  the  great  sand-bank  called  Praia 
Grande.  The  bank  was  more  than  half  a  mile  long,  dividing 
the  river  into  two  channels  ;  portions  were  high  above  the 
water,  and  covered  with  bushes  and  small  trees  ;  on  the  low- 
est parts  there  was  only  pure,  white  sand,  with  little  rows  of 
pebbles  at  intervals.  Here  I  filled  my  hat  with  nicely  pre- 
served, silicified  fossils  ;  they  were  lying  loose  on  the  surface, 
and  had  evidently  been  washed  out  from  some  limestone 
layer  above,  for  I  found  fragments  of  the  rock  still  adhering 
to  them  ;  but  the  limestone  must  have  been  under  water,  for 
I  could  find  no  trace  of  it  along  the  banks.  The  fossils  were 
like  those  of  Itaituba,  on  the  Tapajos  ;  no  doubt  they  belong 
to  the  same  great  layer  of  limestone,  which  runs  through  the 
whole  Lower  Amazons. 

It  is  curious  to  nqte  the  sorting  power  of  running  water  in 

*  Attalea  excelsa.  t  Bactris,  sp. 

X  Attalea  speciosa.  %  Maximiliana  regia. 

330  BRAZIL. 

such  places.  Here,  as  in  the  Amazons,  the  sand-banks  were 
always  separated  from  islands  of  clay  and  mud  on  the  one 
hand,  or  of  stones  on  the  other  ;  coarse  sand  was  in  one 
place,  and  fine  in  another,  and  the  pebbles  were  gathered 
into  little  heaps  and  rows.  You  will  see  something  of  the 
same  thing  along  pebbly  and  sandy  shores  in  the  United 

The  men  had  been  making  a  more  satisfactory  gathering 
than  fossils  and  pebbles.  Rufino  w^as  at  it  first,  probing  the 
sand  with  a  sharpened  stick  for  the  delicious  turtle-eggs. 
Where  the  stick  came  out  stained  with  the  yolks,  he  went 
down  on  his  knees,  and  scraped  away  the  sand  until  the 
treasure  was  uncovered :  twenty-five,  thirty,  even  forty  w^hite 
eggs,  with  a  flexible  covering  like  parchment.  These  were 
the  tracajds'  *  eggs,  oval  in  shape,  and  not  much  larger  than 
those  of  a  pigeon  ;  but  sometimes  a  tartartigas^  nest  was 
discovered,  and  then  there  was  a  rush  for  the  prize  ;  the  eggs 
of  this  turtle  are  nearly  as  large  as  hens'  eggs,  perfectly 
spherical,  and  often  we  found  a  hundred  and  thirty  or  more 
in  one  hole.  We  boiled  them  w^ith  our  fish  and  game  ;  only 
the  yolk  hardens,  and  it  is  very  mealy  and  delicate.  The 
men  ate  the  eggs  raw  also,  and  those  containing  young  turtles 
were  regarded  as  a  delicacy ;  I  confess  that  my  stomach  was 
not  equal  to  these  latter.  For  days  I  feasted  on  boiled  tur- 
tle-eggs, and  never  tired  of  them.  The  Indians  come  up 
from  Curua,  and  even  from  Alenquer,  to  explore  the  sand- 
banks, and  often  they  return  with  their  canoes  full  of  eggs  ; 
it  is  a  wonder  that  any  are  left. 

We  seldom  saw  the  turtles  ;  one  or  two,  that  we  caught 
on  the  sand-banks,  were  speedily  consigned  to  our  kettles. 

*  Emys  tracaja.  t  Podocnemis  expansa. 

THE    CURUA.  331 

The  tracaja  Is  twenty  inches  long  at  the  utmost ;  the  tartaru- 
gas  are  much  larger,  even  three  feet  across  the  shell  at  times, 
and  one  of  them  will  furnish  a  good  meal  for  ten  or  fifteen 
men.  The  turtles  come  up  on  the  sand-banks  at  night,  to 
lay  their  eggs  ;  the  holes  are  carefully  covered,  and  every 
trace  of  disturbance,  and  even  of  the  footprints,  is  smoothed 
over,  so  that  even  the  sharp-eyed  Indians  often  fail  to  detect 
the  nests.  The  little  turtles  come  up  in  time,  with  their 
mouths  full  of  sand  ;  they  speedily  make  for  the  river,  and 
there  encounter  a  host  of  enemies  in  the  alligators  and  larger 
fishes  ;  they  are  pursued  on  land  by  various  birds  ;  and  the 
old  turtles  are  often  seized  upon  by  jaguars,  who  scrape  out 
the  shells  as  cleanly  as  a  knife  could  do  it.  Notwithstanding 
all  this,  the  turtles  are  as  numerous  as  they  were  years  ago  ; 
on  the  Upper  Amazons  many  thousands  of  them  are  captured 
every  year  and  kept  in  pens  for  the  winter's  supply ;  the 
eggs,  also,  are  obtained  in  immense  quantities,  and  crushed 
in  great  troughs  to  obtain  a  rich  oil  which  rises  on  the 

As  we  left  Praia  Grande,  Pedro  caught  a  glimpse  of  a 
swimming  turtle  before  the  canoe  ;  in  an  instant  the  fellow 
was  overboard  after  it,  amid  the  laughter  of  the  whole  crew. 
However,  he  landed  his  prize  very  neatly,  and  was  not  a 
little  proud  of  it,  as  he  had  a  right  to  be,  for  it  is  no  easy 
task  to  catch  a  swimming  turtle  in  deep  water. 

We  were  out  of  the  mosquito  region  now  ;  the  little  pests 
keep  to  lowland  channels,  and  above  Praia  Grande  the  banks 
of  the  Curua  are  all  high.  So  we  slept  unmolested,  camping 
on  a  high  ledge  of  rocks  by  the  shore,  where  the  forest  was 
wild  and  thick.  Only  the  Brazil-nut  gatherers  and  turtle- 
hunters  come  up  so  far ;  the  whole  region  is  an  unbroken 
wilderness,  deserted  even  by  the  wild  Indian  tribes.     For  at 

112  BRAZIL. 

least  a  hundred  miles  to  the  north,  there  was  not  a  single 
human  being,  tame  or  wild,  red  or  white  or  black. 

Our  afternoon  camps  were  always  a  pleasure  to  me.  As 
soon  as  we  landed,  Pedro  ran  to  swing  my  hammock  from 
the  trees,  and  in  five  minutes  a  cup  of  delicious  coffee  was 
handed  to  me.  The  men,  meanwhile,  were  beating  the  water 
for  piranha  fish,  or  hunting  the  woods  ;  they  never  failed  to 
bring  something  for  our  dinner — fish,  or  paca,  or  motum- 
bird,  or  monkey.  The  game  was  roasted  over  the  fire  ;  we 
had  mandioca-meal  and  biscuits,  and  the  men  were  made 
happy  with  abundance  of  hot  coffee  and  sugar,  and  a  dram 
at  nightfall ;  they  had  never  fared  so  well  with  the  traders. 
With  my  cigarette  alight,  I  listened  to  their  stories  and  jokes 
until  the  fire  burned  low  and  they  all  dropped  asleep. 

One  morning  I  found  fresh  jaguar  tracks  within  ten  yards 
of  my  hammock  ;  but  we  were  never  disturbed,  and  I  doubt 
if  the  animals  would  ever  attack  a  camp  in  any  case.  There 
must  be  numbers  of  the  great  cats  in  these  woods.  Several 
times  I  saw  the  smaller,  spotted  kinds ;  and  once,  as  we  were 
moving  up  the  river,  we  noticed  a  large  red  panther  *  stand- 
ing on  a  shelving  rock  and  drinking  quietly.  Two  of  the  men 
fired  at  it  with  charges  of  buckshot,  and  I  added  a  ball  from 
my  revolver  ;  but  the  range  was  a  long  one,  and  the  lead 
rattled  harmlessly  on  the  rock.  The  panther  gave  a  great 
leap  straight  into  the  air,  just  as  you  have  seen  a  frightened 
cat  do  ;  then  bolted  for  the  forest  with  all  speed,  and  that 
was  the  last  we  saw  or  heard  of  it. 

Frequently  we  saw  bands  of  beautiful  brown  otters  f 
swimming  against  the  current  and  raising  themselves  in  the 
water  to  eye  us  curiously.      They  abound  in  all  of  the  branch 

*  P'elis  concolor.  t  Lutra  Braziliensis. 

THE   CURUA.  333 

rivers.  Frequently  the  young  otters  are  tamed,  and  one  that 
I  saw  at  Curua  was  as  docile  as  any  dog,  diving  and  playing 
with  the  little  naked  boys  from  morning  to  night.  When 
hungry,  it  cried  plaintively,  until  bits  of  fish  were  brought  for 
it  to  eat ;  but  the  Indians  said  that  it  would  soon  learn  to  fish 
for  itself. 

This  part  of  the  Curua  was  full  of  sand-shallows,  so  that 
often  we  had  to  dodge  from  side  to  side  to  avoid  them.  The 
channel  was  narrower,  too  :  sometimes  not  more  than  eight 
yards  across.  The  picturesque  cliffs  were  all  overhung  with 
glorious  forest,  piled  a  hundred  feet  above  the  ground,  and 
dropping  great  festoons  of  vines  to  the  water's  edge. 

At  length  we  reached  a  stony  shallow,  where  the  current 
was  too  strong  for  the  paddlers ;  the  men  cut  poles  and 
pushed  us  along  easily,  until  we  came  to  a  more  formidable 
rapid  above  ;  here  they  jumped  overboard,  and  pulled  the 
boat  through  with  much  shouting  and  laughter.  Half  a  mile 
of  still  water  followed,  with  the  ever-increasing  roar  beyond, 
until  a  long  line  of  foam  came  in  sight — the  Cachoeira  da 
Lontra ;  we  were  fairly  among  the  falls. 

The  camp  was  made  here,  for  I  knew  that  we  had  hard 
work  before  us  ;  plenty  of  daylight  and  fresh  muscle  we 
would  need  for  it.  The  river  rushes  through  a  narrow  chan- 
nel, pounding  against  the  great  rocks,  whirling,  and  eddy- 
ing, and  leaping  down  to  black  caves,  and  lashing  itself  into 
white  foam.  On  the  right  side  there  is  an  immense,  flat  table 
of  sandstone  rock,  slanting  southwest  towards  the  rapid  :  the 
surface  worn  into  deep  ''pot-holes,"  and  all  black  with  the 
wash  of  water  during  the  floods.  A  little  clear  brook  flows 
a  quarter  of  a  mile  over  this  table,  and  enters  the  river  just 
above  the  rapid.  On  the  other  side,  there  are  high  cliffs, 
where  I  found  plenty  of  fossil  shells,  Lower  Devonian  forms, 

334  BRAZIL. 

much  resembling  those  that  we  used  to  get  in  the  Oriskany 
sandstone  of  New  York  State.*  Here  was  work  enough  for 
the  remaining  two  hours  of  dayhght.  I  hammered  lustily, 
surrounded,  meanwhile,  by  swarms  of  pmm-fi[Qs,f  which  lit 
on  my  hands  and  face  and  sucked  their  fill  of  blood.  The 
piums  are  much  like  our  "  black  flies,"  and  belong,  indeed, 
to  the  same  family;  the  larvae  live  in  swift- running  water ; 
hence  the  flies  are  always  seen  about  rapids  and  falls.  Dif- 
ferent species  inhabit  the  various  tributaries  and  the  Upper 
Amazons,  The  Tapajos  pium  always  leaves  a  little  drop 
of  blood  under  the  skin,  to  the  great  irritation  of  nervous 
persons  ;  this  Curua  species  difiers  in  that  the  blood  oozes 
out  from  the  wound  and  collects  on  the  surface,  causing  no 
further  annoyance.  While  hammering  on  one  rock,  my  left 
hand  lay  idle  for  a  few  moments,  and  the  flies  collected  on 
it  by  scores  ;  when  I  brushed  them  away  one  would  have 
thought  that  I  had  a  red  glove  on  ;  the  blood  trickled  down 
in  great  drops.  However,  the  piums  were  troublesome  only 
for  an  hour  or  two,  before  sunset,  and  in  the  early  morning  ; 
a  bath  made  all  right ;  we  ate  our  supper  in  peace,  by  the 
light  of  a  blazing  fire,  and  slept  quietly,  free  from  the  worse 
plague  of  mosquitoes. 

The  rapid  was  worse  than  it  looked.  One  of  the  men 
went  ahead  to  drag  on  a  long  rope.  The  rest  were  in  the 
water  up  to  their  breasts,  I  dragging  my  little  with  the  crew, 
and  holding  to  the  canoe  for  dear  life  when  I  was  jerked  ofl" 
my  feet.      It  was  a  long  pull  and  a  hard  one,  but  we  reached 

*  One  of  the  most  characteristic  fossils  is  a  Rensellaria,  but  others  are  hke  those 
of  the  Corniferous  Limestone  and  the  Hamilton  Group  ;  so  that  the  horizon  indi- 
cated would  be  somewhat  higher  than  the  Oriskany.  These  sandstones  were  first 
discovered  on  the  Maecuru  by  Prof  Derby,  Dr.  Freitas,  and  myself. 

t  Trombidium,  sp.  ? 

THE    CURUA.  335 

the  top  at  last,  and  paddled  on  through  nearly  a  mile  of  still 
water,  to  the  next  cachoeii^a. 

There  was  no  passing  over  this.  It  was  a  perpendicular 
fall,  twelve  or  fifteen  feet  high  ;  horseshoe  in  shape,  like  a 
miniature  Niagara.  Bem-fica^  it  is  well  named  by  the  ne- 
groes :  '^  Stay-there,"  "  Thus  far  and  no  farther."  Rufino  had 
warned  me  that  I  would  never  get  my  heavy  canoe  by  this 
obstacle.  However,  I  was  determined  to  try,  and  a  shelving 
sand-bank  at  the  side  gave  me  some  hope  of  success.  The 
canoe  was  unloaded,  and  the  men  were  dispatched  to  the 
woods  for  poles  and  rollers  ;  with  these  we  constructed  a 
kind  of  corduroy  road  over  the  sand.  With  immense  labor 
the  canoe  was  dragged  half-way  up,  and  there  it  stuck  fast; 
not  levers,  nor  rollers,  nor  ropes  turned  about  trees,  could 
get  it  an  inch  farther.  The  men  worked  nobly;  I  offered 
them  a  day's  wages  extra  if  we  surmounted  this  obstacle,  but 
they  did  not  need  that  incentive.  After  four  hours  I  was 
obliged  to  acknowledge  that  we  were  beaten.  My  elaborate 
preparations  had  been  useless ;  the  one  mistake  of  bringing  a 
heavy  canoe  had  ruined  everything.  These  boats  are  made 
of  itaiiba,  stone-wood,  which  well  deserves  its  name,  for  it  is 
intensely  hard  and  heavy.  My  canoe  was  none  too  large  for 
the  crew  and  provisions,  but  I  should  have  brought  two  small 
ones  in  place  of  it,  or  better,  perhaps,  one  made  of  light  wood, 
like  cedj'O* 

From  Rufino  I  gathered  many  notes  about  the  Upper 
Curua.  It  flows  from  the  north,  through  a  hilly  country, 
with  numerous  rapids  and  falls  ;  two  or  three  days'  journey 
above    the    last    niiicantbo  there    are    open   lands,   canipinas^ 

*  A  pair  of  light  wheels,  made  to  slip  under  the  canoe,  would  be  very  useful ; 
but  travellers  who  expect  to  do  good  work  on  the  tributaries  should  have  boats 
made  for  the  service. 

336  BRAZIL. 

Stretching  up  to  the  mountains,  and  occupied  by  a  few  sav- 
age Indians.  The  negroes  had  little  to  do  with  these  In- 
dians, but  they  gave  them  a  very  bad  name.  I  fancy  that 
they  would  prove  no  worse  than  other  wandering  tribes, 
who  are  good  or  bad  according  to  the  mood  in  which  one 
may  find  them.* 

We  dragged  our  clumsy  craft  down  to  the  water's  edge 
again,  and  reloaded  it.  Returning  through  the  Lontra  rap- 
ids, we  had  a  narrow  escape  from  utter  wreck.  The  canoe 
got  across  the  current,  and  was  dashed  against  a  rock,  splin- 
tering the  bottom  and  nearly  pitching  the  cargo  overboard. 
Fortunately,  the  crack  was  a  small  one,  and  we  stopped  it 
up  with  strips  of  cloth  ;  beyond  this  we  had  no  difficulty, 
and  before  night  we  were  safe  in  the  still  water  below. 

I  now  determined  to  explore  the  little  Igarape  BrancOy 
which  enters  the  Curua  from  the  east,  just  below  the  falls  ; 
the  position  promised  me  some  important  geological  results. 
It  is  a  narrow  channel,  between  high,  gloriously  wooded 
banks,  the  Brazil-nut  trees  rising  over  all.  The  forest  is  full 
of  old  trails  ;  for,  wild   as   it   appears,  the  region   is   visited 

*  According  to  Rufino  and  Manuel,  the  succession  of  rapids  and  falls,  beginning 
below,  is  as  follows  ;  the  names  were  all  given  by  the  negroes  :  i.  Cachoeirinha ; 
2.  Lontra;  3.  Bem-fica  ;  then,  in  close  order,  4,  Mae  Isabel;  5.  Japim  ;  6.  Josepha 
Torrena;  7.  Mundurucu  ;  8.  Brigadeiro,  a  very  difficult  rapid.  After  these  there  is 
Stillwater  for  a  day's  journey;  then  follow,  9.  Cachoeirinha;  10.  Trabalhado ;  11. 
Botamy  ;  12.  Sucuruju  ;  13.  Piranha;  14.  Paciencia  ;  15.  Monte  Negro.  Now  again 
there  is  a  clear  space  for  half  a  day;  then  the  two  rapids,  16.  Bahia,  and  17.  Con- 
ceigao ;  still  water  for  a  day,  or  two  days,  with  the  single  rapid,  18.  Botos  ;  follow- 
ing this  comes  a  long  sweep  in  a  narrow  chasm  ;  this  is  called,  19.  Solapo,  and  can 
only  be  passed  by  land  ;  20.  Perdido  ;  21.  Chico  Mulato  ;  and  22.  Tira-faca,  bringing 
one  to  the  site  of  the  old  mucambo,  which  was  broken  up  many  years  ago ;  beyond 
these  follow,  23.  Parente  Joaquim  ;  then  a  very  long  stretch  of  still  water,  at  least  a 
day's  journey ;  then  falls  again  :  24.  Furo  Grande  ;  25.  Pagao  Dezina,  which  is  just 
below  the  last  negro  settlement,  now  entirely  abandoned.  Beyond  this  there  are 
innumerable  rapids  to  the  cMnpinas. 

THE   CURUA.  337 

every  year  by  scores  of  nut-gatherers.  We  pushed  on  for 
two  or  three  miles,  until  we  came  to  a  shallow  ;  here  the 
camp  was  pitched  ;  no  palms  at  hand  for  a  thatched  hut,  and 
a  drizzling  rain  fell  in  the  evening,  so  that  we  were  thor- 
oughly wet  and  uncomfortable.  In  the  morning  I  waited 
only  for  a  cup  of  coffee,  expecting  to  return  for  breakfast. 
We  followed,  on  foot,  as  well  as  we  could,  along  the 
banks,  probably  for  two  miles  ;  but  the  forest  was  thick  and 
matted,  and  I  could  make  out  nothing  of  the  geological  sec- 
tion that  I  was  seeking.  Turning  again  to  the  stream,  we 
began  to  wade  up  along  the  channel,  often  to  our  waists  in 
the  water,  and  working  against  a  rapid  current ;  in  this  way 
we  advanced,  I  suppose,  a  mile  more,  and  my  geological 
studies  grew  more  interesting  with  every  step.  In  the 
water  we  worked,  the  men  breaking  up  great  rocks  for  me ; 
through  a  pelting  shower,  and  a  drizzling  rain  that  followed 
it ;  without  food  all  day,  for  we  had  brought  none  with  us  ; 
soaked,  and  chilled,  and  weary,  until  nightfall,  when  we  re- 
turned to  camp  through  the  dripping  woods,  nearly  losing 
our  way  in  the  darkness.  Everything  about  the  canoe  was 
soaked  ;  with  difficulty  we  lighted  a  fire,  holding  a  mat  over 
the  blaze  until  it  was  well  started.  The  little  thatched  cabin 
was  full  of  baggage,  and  it  was  too  dark  now  to  send  to  the 
forest  for  palm-leaves,  so  a  shelter  was  out  of  the  question. 
I  put  on  dry  clothes,  and  rolled  myself  in  my  blanket  until 
supper  was  ready ;  a  scanty  one,  of  roast  monkey  and  man- 
dioca-meal,  but  I  ordered  unhmited  coffee  for  the  men,  and 
gave  to  each  one  a  dose  of  quinine  ;  for  we  were  in  the  very 
worst  part  of  the  fever-region.  After  a  while  the  rain  ceased, 
but  it  came  on  again  a  little  later,  and  continued  until  mid- 
night. I  kept  pretty  dry  under  my  blankets,  though  the 
men  fared  badly  enough.     When   it  stopped  raining  I  had 


338  BRAZIL. 

coffee  made  for  them  again.  I  have  always  found  that  this 
is  the  best  guard  against  miasma. 

The  nut-gatherers  about  the  Igarape  Branco  are  almost 
sure  to  have  attacks  of  ague  or  pernicious  fever,  but  notwith- 
standing all  our  exposure  here,  none  of  the  party  were  any 
the  worse  for  it.  When  we  finally  returned  to  Curua,  a  week 
later,  every  man  was  in  good  health  and  spirits  :  Joao  came 
to  me  voluntarily,  and  proposed  that  we  should  go  to  the 
falls  with  a  light  canoe  ;  and  the  other  men  would  have  ac- 
companied me  willingly.  Among  the  Indians,  especially,  I 
have  found  that  when  a  workman  is  well  treated  he  will  go 
to  the  end  of  the  earth  with  his  employer  ;  only,  in  a  bad 
situation,  he  is  likely  to  desert,  just  as  a  child  will  run  away 
from  danger.  On  a  difficult  canoe-voyage  it  is  better  to  be 
familiar  with  the  crew,  and  allow  them  to  regard  you,  in 
some  measure,  as  one  of  them,  but  without  sacrificing  a 
proper  dignity  ;  then  they  may  refuse  to  go  farther,  but  they 
will  never  desert  you  without  warning. 

Before  leaving  this  region,  let  us  review  the  geography  of 
the  river  and  its  valley.  The  Curua,  in  all  probability,  takes 
its  rise  on  the  southern  slope  of  the  Guiana  mountains,  some- 
where about  lat.  i°  or  i°  30',  N.,  and  long.  55°  W.  G.  ;  it 
flows,  approximately,  south.  As  far  as  lat.  i°  S.  it  is  much 
obstructed  by  rapids  and  falls  ;  from  the  Cachoeirinha  down, 
there  are  no  obstructions  except  sand-banks,  and  the  river 
would  be  navigable  for  steamboats  during  the  flood  season. 
This  navigable  portion  is  about  eighty  miles  long,  with  all  its 
curves  ;  but  a  straight  line  from  the  falls  to  Lake  Curua, 
would  hardly  measure  more  than  fifty-five  miles  ;  the  gen- 
eral course,  in  this  portion,  is  south-southwest.  The  only 
tributaries  of  any  importance  are  the  Igarape  Branco,  from 
the  east,  near  the  falls,  and  the  Mamia,  from  the  west,  thirty 

THE    CURUA.  339 

miles  farther  south ;  neither  of  these  streams  is  navigable. 
The  mouth  of  the  river,  in  Lake  Curua,  is  approximately  in 
lat.  i"  53'  S.  and  long.  55°  5'  W.  G.  Before  entering  the 
lake,  the  river  receives  a  small  portion  of  water  through  the 
Furo  de  Bare,  which  flows  out  of  Lake  Macura.  Macura 
receives  its  water  from  the  Amazons  just  below  Obidos,  by 
the  long  Furo  de  Mamauru.  The  combined  flood  emerges 
from  Lake  Curua,  at  the  eastern  end,  by  the  Igarape  do 
Lago,  or  Igarape  d'Alenquer.  This  is  a  deep  channel,  flow- 
ing in  a  general  easterly  direction,  about  fifty  miles  ;  receiv- 
ing Amazonian  water  by  a  short  channel;  and  finally  emerg- 
ing into  the  Amazons,  near  Lake  Paracary,  in  about  lat. 
2°  5'  S.  and  long.  54°  25'  W.  G.  The  whole  navigable  ex- 
tent, by  the  Igarape  d'Alenquer,  Lago  de  Curua,  and  the 
river  itself,  is  about  one  hundred  and  thirty-five  miles.  The 
flood-plain  of  the  Curua  extends  far  up  towards  the  falls  ;  on 
the  lower  course  it  widens  out  rapidly,  and  the  terra  firme 
attains  the  river  only  at  long  intervals,  as  at  Curua ;  the  Iga- 
rape d'Alenquer  touches  the  terra  firme  only  at  Alenquer. 
The  Curua  flood-plain  meets  a  great  bay  of  the  Amazonian 
varzea,  extending  from  Obidos  to  near  Lago  Grande  de 
Monte  Alegre,  where  it  is  joined  to  another  great  bay  at 
the  mouth  of  the  Maecurii.  Opposite  the  mouth  of  the 
Curua,  the  Amazonian  flood-plain  is  at  least  eighty  miles 
wide.  We  have  seen  how  the  outline  of  this  great  plain  is 
broken  into  bays  and  prolongations.  On  the  Lower  Curua, 
and  towards  Alenquer,  this  irregularity  is  carried  to  its  great- 
est extreme,  so  that  the  two  kinds  of  land  are  mingled  in  in- 
extricable confusion  ;  islands  of  terra  firme  are  strewn  over 
the  varzea,  and  lakes  and  bays  of  the  lowland  are  almost 
cut  ofl"  from  the  main  river-plain.  I  made  two  flying  visits 
to  the  region  northeast  of  Lake  Curua.     It  is  full  of  beautiful 

340  BRAZIL. 

lakes,  lying  against  the  terra  firme  islands ;  the  islands  them- 
selves are  generally  of  hard  rock,  diorite  and  sandstone,  such 
as  form  ridges  on  the  main-land.  I  never  saw  a  more  com- 
plicated tangle  than  this  one,  of  high  and  low  lands,  meadow 
and  forest,  channels  and  lakes,  swamps  and  dry  lands,  all 
within  a  few  square  miles  of  surface.  Yet  the  distinctive 
characters  of  each  kind  of  land  are  just  as  sharply  defined  as 
elsewhere  ;  in  all  my  walks  here  I  was  never  puzzled  to  dis- 
tinguish them,  though  I  was  passing  from  one  to  the  other 
continually.  One  stretch  of  varzea  meadow,  ten  miles  long 
and  as  many  wide,  is  cut  off  by  a  chain  of  these  islands. 
This  meadow  is  the  cleanest  and  smoothest  that  I  have  seen 
on  the  Amazons  ;  for  miles  together  one  hardly  finds  a  ditch,  or 
a  ridge,  or  a  bush.  I  could  not  get  rid  of  the  impression  that 
the  whole  district  had  been  sunk  bodily  into  the  river-plain, 
leaving  only  the  ridges  to  form  little  islands  and  peninsulas. 

The  geology  of  the  Curua  region  is  as  interesting,  and 
almost  as  obscure,  as  that  of  the  Paracary-Cujubim  district. 
The  coarse  Tertiary  (?)  sandstones  and  clays,  seen  at  Para- 
cary,  occur  again  at  Alenquer,  and  farther  west  on  Lake 
Macura ;  north  of  a  straight  line  drawn  between  these  two 
points,  the  rock  is  Palaeozoic,  but  often  poorly  exposed,  or 
obscured  by  ridges  of  diorite  and  trap  breccia.  The  general 
strike  of  the  Palaeozoic  rocks  is  about  west-northwest,  and 
they  dip  generally  to  the  south-southeast  at  a  small  angle, 
never  more  than  seven  or  eight  degrees,  and  often  much  less. 
The  Devonian  rocks  rest  on  hard  sandstones,  which  may 
be  either  Devonian,  or,  more  probably,  Silurian.  The  un- 
doubtedly Devonian  series  includes  at  least  five  hundred  feet 
of  sandstones  and  shales  ;  following  these  come  several  hun- 
dred feet  of  sandstone,  which  may  be  Devonian  or  Carbonif- 
erous ;  and  finally  the  Carboniferous  series,  which  must  be 

THE    CURUA.  341 

many  hundred,  perhaps  several  thousand,  feet  thick,  though 
the  upper  portion  is  worn  away.* 

It  looks  prosy  enough  on  paper  ;  but  I  long  now  for  the 
romance  of  that  wandering,  open-air  study,  piecing  and  patch- 
ing together  the  sections  that  I  found  here  and  there  ;  compar- 
ing this  with  that,  until  the  whole  stood  clear  in  my  mind — 
until  a  foot  of  rock  was  a  key  to  hundreds  of  feet  below  it, 
as  an  anatomist  recognizes  a  species  from  a  tooth  or  scale. 

*The  succession  of  Palaeozoic  rocks  on  the  Curua,  as  far  as  I  have  observed 
them,  is  as  follows,  the  thicknesses  given  being  approximate.      Beginning  below: 

1.  Hard  gray  or  red  sandstone,  in  heavy  layers  ;  thickness  unknown,  but  the 
corresponding  beds  on  the  Maecuru  have  been  traced  through  several  hundred  feet. 

2.  Sandstones,  alternations  of  soft  and  hard  layers,  with  Lower  Devonian  fossils, 
exposed  at  the  Lontra  fall. — 30  feet. 

3.  Layers  of  hard,  light  purple  sandstone,  often  with  a  flinty  fracture,  and  resist- 
ing w^ell  the  action  of  the  weather,  so  that  it  forms  angular  blocks  along  the  river 
shore.     Xo  fossils. — 30  feet. 

4.  Dark  shales,  more  or  less  sandy. — 15  feet. 

5.  Successions  of  dark  shales  and  sandstones. — 50  feet. 

6.  Fine,  black  shale,  passing  into  Xo.  5.  Contains  large  concretions  of  a  hard, 
gray,  argillaceous  rock. — 30  feet. 

7.  Red,  sandy  shales,  full  of  Spirophytoti  plants.  In  certain  beds  there  are  little 
nodulose  bodies,  which  may  be  organic. — 10  feet. 

8.  Similar  to  No.  7,  but  without  Spirophyton. — 50  feet. 

Thus  far  we  are  clearly  in  the  Devonian  series.     Following  these  are  : 

9.  A  bed  of  rather  coarse  and  hard,  yellow  sandstone. — 7  feet. 

10.  Irregular,  concretionary,  argillaceous  rock,  reddish  in  color. — 75  feet. 

11.  Heavy  beds  of  sandstone,  either  fine  and  homogeneous  in  structure,  or 
coarse,  and  full  of  pebbles  and  clay  nodules. — 35  feet. 

12.  Hard,  fine,  sandy  shales.  The  surfaces  often  appear  mottled,  and  the  broken 
edges  show  beautiful  laminations  of  greenish,  yellow,  black  and  white. — 100  feet. 

13.  Coarse  sandstones,  often  weathering  into  curious  rounded  forms. — 50  feet. 
None  of  the  layers  from  Xo.  9  to  Xo.  13  have  yielded  fossils,  and  we  have  no 

indication  of  their  age.  -\bove  them  there  is  a  gap  in  the  section,  corresponding, 
probably,  to  a  thickness  of  three  hundred  feet.  Following  this  come  the  Carbon- 
iferous rocks,  sandstones,  and  shales,  with  a  bed  of  limestone  near  the  bottom,  in- 
dicated, on  the  Curua,  only  by  silicified  fossils  and  fragments  of  the  matrix,  picked 
up  at  Praia  Grande. 



WE  have  been  living  at  Monte  Alegre,  D.  and  F.  and 
myself.  D.  is  an  American,  geological  explorer  and 
fossil-describer,  and  thoroughly  good  fellow.  F.  is  a  young 
Brazilian,  who  ought  to  be  a  Yankee,  for  his  energy  and  lack 
of  kid-glovism  are  phenomenal  under  the  tropics.  We  three 
are  sitting  before  the  door  of  our  comfortable  little  house, 
chair-legs  two  inches  deep  in  the  sand ;  handkerchiefs  around 
our  necks  to  keep  off  the  mosquitoes  which  will  soon  appear; 
fragrant  wreaths  ascending  from  our  cigarettes. 

But,  before  we  go  farther,  let  me  introduce  to  you  the 
port-village  at  Mojite  Alegre,  Joyful  Mountain.  The  moun- 
tain itself  is  just  behind  us,  and  the  village  proper  is  on  top 
of  it,  half  a  mile  away  ;  this  porto  is  built  on  a  great  sand- 
beach,  fronting  the  canoe-landing  and  steamboat  anchorage. 
There  are  adobe-houses,  one  story  high,  whitewashed  until 
they  are  a  degree  more  glaring  than  the  sand  ;  one  line 
fronts  the  beach,  and  others,  behind,  struggle  up  the  slope 
in  the  outlines  of  two  streets  ;  but  there  are  no  pavements, 
and  the  buildings  look  as  though  they  had  shifted  a  little 
with  the  wind-blown  surface.  Sand  ankle-deep  in  the  roads, 
broiling  hot  all  day,  white  like  snow  in  the  moonlit  nights  ; 
but  the  hillsides  beyond  are  wrapped  with  cool,  green  man- 

THE   MAECURU.  343 

ties,  and  the  tucuma-palms  nod  merrily  to  the  east  wind. 
Half  a  dozen  trading  canoes  are  anchored  in  the  river,  and 
smaller  boats  are  pulled  up  on  the  sand.  Three  hundred 
yards  across  the  channel  there  are  beautiful,  green  varzea 
meadows,  with  a  few  trees  along  the  banks ;  up  and  down 
the  shores  are  well  wooded.  As  we  sit  now  in  the  sunset, 
the  fishermen  begin  to  arrive  from  the  neighboring  lakes, 
and  about  the  shore  there  is  that  subdued  activity  that  al- 
ways precedes  the  close  of  the  day.  The  little  shops  are 
filled  with  customers  —  Indians,  and  Portuguese,  and  ne- 
groes ;  people  are  sitting  in  front  of  their  houses,  as  we  are, 
smoking  after-dinner  cigarettes,  and  chatting  quietly.  Good 
people  are  these  at  Monte  Alegre  ;  men  with  hearts  a  thou- 
sand times  greater  than  their  purses,  for  the  village  is  not  a 
rich  one,  as  the  world  goes.  Whatever  prosperity  it  has, 
comes  from  the  pirarucu  fisheries  of  the  neighboring  lakes, 
and  the  few  herds  of  cattle  on  the  campos  ;  perhaps  I  should 
add  the  painted  calabashes,  which  the  people  ornament  very 
prettily  and  export  to  all  parts  of  the  province.  Agriculture 
hardly  exists  here.  Near  the  village  the  land  is  unfit  for  cul- 
tivation ;  neighboring  Indian  settlements  have  their  planta- 
tions of  mandioca,  but  these  rarely  produce  a  surplus  for 
sale.  Even  oranges  come  from  Erere,  six  or  eight  miles 

The  upper  village  is  about  three  hundred  feet  above  the 
port ;  you  think  it  a  thousand,  toiling  up  the  steep  hillside 
road,  and  wiping  the  perspiration  from  your  brow.  The  road 
is  washed  into  great  gullies,  so  that  it  is  hardly  passable  for 
horses.  Half-way  from  the  bottom  there  is  a  little  spring, 
flowing .  across  the  road,  and  into  a  hollow  below,  where  a 
great  tub  is  placed  to  receive  the  tiny  cascade.  Here  the 
water-jars   are  filled,  night  and  morning  ;  all  day  the  sandy 



slope  is  lively  with  washerwomen  of  every  shade  ;  and  at 
twilight  the  men  and  boys  of  the  village  come  here  to  bathe, 
after  their  day's  work. 

The  hill  is  worth  climbing,  if  only  for  the  glorious  view 
that  one  has  from  the  summit.  You  look  off  over  the  lakes 
and  channels  and  meadows  of  the  lowland,  and  across  to  the 

Looking  over  the   Lowlands  fronn    Monte   Alegre. 

Amazons,  and  the  blue  terra  firme  of  Taperinha  and  Santa- 
rem.  Westward  there  are  rugged  hills  of  the  Ererc  chain, 
and  lesser  ones  sweeping  around  to  Tajiiri  on  the  north,  the 
highest  of  all,  with  its  dome  a  thousand  feet  above  the  river ; 
no  great  elevation,  it  is  true,  but  in  this  flat  country  the 
hills  appear  like  mountains.  To  reach  Erere  or  Tajuri  you 
would  have  to  cross  a  great  tract  of  sandy  campo,  like  that 
of  Paracary  and  Santarem  ;  even  in  the  village  the  ground  is 
sandy  and  bare,  and  the  few  trees  in  the  outskirts  are  campo 

THE   MAECURU.  345 

species.  The  great  square  has  no  trees  at  all ;  the  houses 
around  are  neatly  whitewashed,  and  there  is  a  really  hand- 
some church,  the  finest  in  the  province,  it  is  said,  outside  of 
Para.  It  was  built  a  few  years  ago,  to  take  the  place  of  a 
tiny  chapel  which  is  still  used  for  minor  services. 

To  return  to  our  little  party  at  the  port  village.  We  are 
discussing  the  pros  and  cons  of  a  proposed  trip  to  the  river 
Maecuru.  For  a  long  time  our  hearts  have  been  set  on  this 
journey.  The  Maecuru  has  never  been  explored  ;  we  only 
know  that  it  flows  through  the  blue  hills  which  we  have 
seen,  looking  northward  from  the  top  of  the  Erere  mountain. 
Every  geologist  gravitates  to  a  hill  country,  as  .a  duck  does 
to  water.  What  if  the  journey  be  a  hard  one,  with  possi- 
ble danger  and  certain  discomforts  ;  we  have  tangled  ques- 
tions to  solve,  and  the  hills  promise  all  if  we  can  but  reach 
them.  '*  So,"  says  D.,  giving  the  final  verdict,  ''  we  will  go 
to  the  Maecuru  ;  Sr.  Valente  has  promised  us  a  canoe  ;  the 
river  is  low  now,  and  we  have  at  least  three  weeks  to  spare. 
The  only  difficulty  that  I  see,  will  be  to  find  men  for  the 

I  agree,  of  course.  F.,  who  has  been  studying  English, 
says,  "  Very  good."  D.  produces  his  tobacco-pouch,  and  in- 
vites us  to  roll  fresh  cigarettes,  mildly  adding:  "Let's  li- 
quor : "  which  phrase  is  intended  for  F.'s  benefit ;  the  liquor 
is  very  innocent  ginger-beer,  sold  in  a  neighboring  shop.  F. 
stares  and  says,  ''  Go  wesht."  You  must  know  that  we  have 
been  tormenting  this  OUendorf-student  with  a  series  of  very 
idiomatic,  American-Enghsh  phrases  ;  a  few  he  has  learned, 
and  throws  back  at  us  in  random  shots,  sometimes  hitting 
the  mark,  missing  it  comically  when  he  half  comprehends. 
But  you  should  know  F.  to  like  him  as  we  do ;  all  our  chaff 
cannot  ruffle  his  steady  good-nature  ;  and  beneath  it  there 

34^  BRAZIL. 

is  a  quick  intellect,  that  will  yet  make  him  known  among  his 

It  takes  us  two  or  three  days  to  find  men,  and  to  ar- 
range supplies  for  the  voyage  ;  the  canoe  must  be  calked, 
and  letters  must  be  written,  and  our  time  is  well  filled  until 
we  say  adeos  to  our  good  friends,  and  embark  from  Monte 
Alegre.  The  boat  is  rather  lighter  than  the  one  I  used  on 
the  Curua  trip  ;  barely  large  enough,  in  fact,  for  ourselves 
and  luggage,  and  the  fossils  we  may  bring  home.  We  have 
three  men,  and  are  depending  on  the  lower  Maecuru  settle- 
ments for  another.     Altogether,  we  are  well  started. 

Within  certain  limits  the  Rio  de  Monte  Alegre  bears  the 
same  relation  to  the  Maecuru,  that  the  Igarape  d'Alenquer 
bears  to  the  Curua.  Like  the  Alenquer,  it  is  a  lowland 
stream,  flowing  eastward  out  of  a  lake  which  receives  the 
highland  river.  In  fact,  it  is  a  part  of  the  Maecuru,  and  the 
Indians  often  call  it  by  that  name.  Their  own  name  for  the 
whole  river  system  is  Citriipatilba^  Many  Ports.*  There  is  a 
parand-miriy  the  Paituna^  which  leaves  the  Maecuru  above 
the  lakes,  and  enters  it  again  just  above  Monte  Alegre ;  we 
determine  to  ascend  by  this  route,  and  return  by  the  lake, 
thus  completing  our  survey  of  the  lower  river. 

For  a  mile  or  more,  the  river  passes  by  high  woods — 
banks  of  terra  firme  on  the  northern  side,  contrasting  strongly 
with  the  meadows  that  stretch  away  southward.  We  stop  at 
the  little  settlement  of  Suriibijil,  where  a  clear-water  stream 

*  Sr.  D.  S.  Ferreira  Penna  (A  Regiao  Occidental  da  Provincia  do  Para,  p.  125), 
says  that  the  name  Miiecuru  is  appHed  only  to  the  highland  river ;  after  leaving  the 
lake  it  takes  the  name  Cururuhy,  until  it  receives,  on  the  left,  the  Igarape  Apdra, 
when  it  is  called  Curupatuba.  As  regards  the  common  usage,  this  is  a  mistake.  I 
have  heard  the  names  Maecuru  and  Curupatuba  indifferently  applied  to  either  river. 
Rio  de  Monte  Alegre  is  the  lowland  stream. 

THE   MAECURU.  347 

flows  down  from  the  campo.  Here  are  manufactured  many 
of  the  painted  calabashes  of  which  I  have  spoken.  The 
women  are  constantly  engaged  in  preparing  them  ;  generally 
coarse,  cheap  kinds,  but  occasionally  they  spend  whole  days 
in  putting  on  really  elaborate  and  artistic  designs.  The  cala- 
bash-trees* are  planted  all  about  the  houses,  and  we  see  the 
great  fruits,  like  green  cannon-balls,  attached  by  short  stems 
to  the  branches.  The  fruits  are  cut  in  two  from  stem  to 
apex,  and  the  white  inner  pulp  is  carefully  scraped  away ;  to 
do  this  thoroughly,  the  shells  must  be  soaked  for  a  long  time 
in  water.  When  they  are  perfectly  smooth,  they  are  painted 
with  a  solution  of  r//;;/^//-bark,t  which,  being  exposed  to  the 
fumes  of  ammonia,  becomes  a  brilliant  black  lacquer,  proof 
against  hot  water  and  rum,  and  very  durable  ;  introduced 
into  the  United  States,  this  cumati  would  be  invaluable  for 
certain  kinds  of  work.  The  prettiest  calabashes,  to  my  think- 
ing, have  only  this  black  coating,  with  the  patterns  scratched 
through  it,  so  as  to  show  the  white  shell  beneath.  The 
painted  specimens  are  of  various  colors  and  patterns.  Cer- 
tain bright  clays  are  used  for  the  yellow  and  gray  tints  ;  an- 
natto  gives  the  red,  and  indigo  the  blue  ;  frequently,  bits  of 
gold-leaf  and  tinsel  are  fixed  to  the  varnish,  with  gaudy 
effect.  Besides  the  native  designs,  natural  objects  are  some- 
times imitated,  and  a  common  pattern  is  the  Brazilian  coat- 
of-arms.  Baskets,  spoons  and  closed  jars  are  made  of  the 
calabashes.  Some  of  the  more  elaborate  ones  are  sold  for 
two  or  three  milreis  (one  dollar  to  one  dollar  and  fifty  cents), 
and  even  more  ;  the  common  ones  can  be  obtained  for  a  few 

Leaving  Surubiju,  we  turn  away  from  the  highland  ;  the 

*  Crescentia  cujete.  t  Apocynea  follicularis. 



river  is  now  a  typical  lowland  channel,  two  or  three  hundred 
yards  wide,  and  deep  enough  for  any  of  the  river  steamboats. 
The  tide  is  felt  here,  strongly  :  for  an  hour  at  a  time  the  cur- 
rent sets  in  from  the  Amazons.     It  is  said  that,  in  the  dry 

season,  the  water  flows 
back  for  days  together. 
Possibly  the  evapora- 
tion from  the  great  lake 
above,  and  the  wind,  ^^ 
blowing  westward  over 
it,  cause  this  phenome- 
non, which  has  already 
been  noticed  by  Brown 
and  Lidstone.* 

Three  or  four  miles 
above  Monte  Alegre,  we  leave  the  main  river  and  turn  into 
the  Paituna.  At  the  mouth,  this  side-channel  is  rather  more 
than  a  hundred  yards  broad,  flowing,  with  a  considerable  cur- 


*  B'ifteen  Thousand  Miles  on  the  Amazon,  p.  24. 

THE   MAECURU.  349 

rent,  between  broad  meadows,  with  low  banks  at  the  water's 
edge.  There  is  no  continued  forest  here  ;  clumps  of  trees 
grow  on  either  side,  among  thickets  of  mimosas  and  weeds. 
Maraja  and  javary  palms  nod  at  the  water's  edge  ;  beyond, 
on  either  side,  there  are  small  lakes  and  numberless  pools, 
occupying  half  the  surface  ;  but  we  can  see  only  the  moving 
grass,  interrupted  occasionally  by  the  mouth  of  a  little  igarape. 

The  white  herons  *  have  gathered  here  in  great  flocks ;  as 
we  come  up,  they  spread  their  snowy  wings  and  fly  a  little 
way,  but  soon  light  again  in  the  shallow  water  ;  often  a  hun- 
dred are  in  the  air  together,  like  an  animated  snow-storm. 
With  these  are  egrets  t  and  bitterns  ;|:  blue  herons,  §  some- 
times, and  beautiful  roseate  spoonbills.  i|  Black  divers  H  swim 
with  their  heads  and  long  necks  out  of  water,  but  ready 
to  dip  under  at  the  least  alarm  ;  flocks  of  ducks  appear  now 
and  then — either  the  large,  black /<a:/<?  *  *  or  the  smaller,  pret- 
tily painted,  gra.y  7nareca.i'^  Among  the  bushes  there  are 
numberless  small  birds,  and  rarely  a  great  hawk,  or  an  a/e;i- 
corne,  unicorn-bird,  J  f  with  a  long  bristle  or  horn  on  its  head. 
Capibaras  run  on  the  shore ;  lazy  alligators  lie  with  their 
heads  above  the  surface  ;  fish  leap  from  the  water ;  bright 
dragon-flies  dart  about  among  the  reeds.  Turn  where  you 
will,  there  is  some  new  phase  of  this  overflowing  animal  life  ; 
stroncrlv  in  contrast  to  the  dark  forest,  where  the  birds  and 
insects  hide  themselves,  and  you  seem  walking  in  a  land 
without  motion  or  sound,  a  wilderness  of  trees  alone. 

Shortly  above  its  mouth,  the  Paituna  receives  the  little 
Igarape  d'Ererc,  which  flows  down  from  a  range  of  hills  on 
the  north.     These  hills  form  a  crescent ;  first  there  is  Erere\ 

*  Ardea  candidissima.  +  Ardea  alba.  X  Ardea  exilis  ? 

§  Ardea  Herodias.  [  Platerhynchus.  T  Plotus  anhinga. 

**  Anas  moschata  ?  tt  Anas  autumnalis.  \  %  Palamedea  cornuta. 



nearly  a  thousand  feet  high,  with  the  long  spur  of  Paiiuna 
stretching  off  into  the  lowland  ;  then  Arochi,  and  the  conical 
peak  o{  MacJiirdy  and  the  lower  hills  oi  Paraizo,  Sao  Jiclido, 
Uriiciiry  and  Brutin,  sweeping  around  by  the  Maecurii.  In 
the  other  direction  the  curve  can  be  traced  still  farther, 
through  the  low  ridges  of  Uacarc  and  Airi  to  the  rock-mass 
of  Tajuri ;  thence,  probably,  the  circle :-;: 
is  completed  in  other  ridges,  which  we 
cannot  distinguish  here.  The  hills  are 
the  remnants  of  a  great  dome  of  rock. 

Serra   d  Erere,    Irom   tne    Nortneast. 

the  core  of  which  has  been  washed  away,  leaving  the  plain 
of  Erere  in  the  middle  ;  all  through  the  range  we  find  sand- 
stone strata,  dipping  away  from  the  plain. 

The  Paituna  is  excessively  crooked,  and  it  varies  greatly 
in  width.  Often  there  is  a  narrow  channel,  through  flooded 
meadows  on  either  side.  The  whole  country  is  full  of  lakes, 
whereof  the  largest  are  no  more  than  a  mile  across.  We 
turn  off  from  the  main  channel  at  sunset,  to  seek  a  shorter 
passage  through  these  lakes  ;  the  men  push  the  boat  through 
the  grass  with  their  long  poles,  for  the  land  is  so  low  here 
that  it  is  still  covered  with  water,  although  it  is  late  in  Au- 

THE    MAECURU.  35  I 

gust,  and  the  flood  season  is  passed  ;  these  meadows  are  dry 
only  during  two  or  three  months  of  each  year.  The  lakes 
and  pools  are  covered  with  pontederias,  and  great,  white 
lilies.  Once  or  twice  we  pass  a  Victoria  regia  ;  the  buds 
are  just  opening  ;  in  the  morning  the  flowers  will  be  seen  at 
their  best,  but  before  midday  they  will  change  color,  and 
droop,  and  so  sink  into  the  water  to  ripen  their  seeds. 

It  is  ten  o'clock  when  we  come  out  into  the  Paituna  again, 
and  seek  shelter  in  a  half-submerged  varzea  house,  almost  the 
only  one  that  we  have  seen  since  leaving  Surubiju.  Here 
we  pass  the  night,  uncomfortably  enough,  for  the  mosquitoes 
are  numberless  ;  the-house  itself  is  full,  and  we  must  swing 
our  hammocks  in  an  open  shed. 

We  are  off  with  the  early  morning.  The  channel  is  wider 
again,  a  hundred  yards  or  more,  and  lined  with  beautiful, 
feathery  bamboos  ;  here  and  there  the  javary  palms  appear, 
and  little  clumps  of  thick-leaved  trees  ;  but  behind  them  the 
meadows  stretch  away  on  all  sides.  The  birds  are  waking  to 
the  sunrise  ;  all  their  hearts  go  out  in  song  now,  and  the 
bushes  and  trees  are  alive  with  them.  Oh,  it  is  glorious 
here,  with  the  day  coming  on,  and  all  Nature  bursting  into  a 
jubilee  to  greet  it ! 

"  Bully,  isn't  it,  F.  ?  "  says  D.  *'  What  ees  Bullee  ?  "  in- 
quires F.,  dubiously.  I  explain,  **  touroso."  (Portuguese, 
totcrOy  a  bull :  touroso,  nobis,  pertaining  to  a  bull.)  F.  stares  ; 
D.  explodes.  ''Hit  'im  again,  old  boy,"  says  he;  and  F. 
retorts  :  *'  Go  and  tell  dat  to  de  marines."  When  I  am  next 
scribbling  at  my  note-book,  D.  suggests:  *'Put  it  in  that 
'  the  tedium  of  the  voyage  was  whiled  away  by  the  charms 
of  intellectual  conversation  !  '  " 

In  one  place  the  Paituna  flows  within  a  quarter  of  a  mile 
of  the  Maecuru  ;  here  there  is  a  muddy  road,  crossing  the 

352  BRAZIL. 

meadows  to  a  cattle  fazenda  on  the  latter  stream.  The 
owner  of  the  fazenda  tells  us  that  he  has  just  come  from 
Monte  Alegre,  by  land,  in  five  hours  ;  we  have  been  a  day 
and  a  half,  canoeing  through  the  tortuous  igarape. 

As  we  near  the  Maecurii  the  channel  is  narrow,  and  the 
current  is  very  strong.  It  is  curious  to  note  the  varying 
strength  of  the  current  through  the  igarape.  In  some  places, 
where  it  is  no  wider  nor  deeper  than  here,  it  forms  only  a 
row  of  sluggish  pools,  with  a  barely  perceptible  flow.  I 
suppose  that  much  of  the  water  passes  across  the  meadows, 
in  this  interminable  net-work  of  lakes  and  channels.  The 
Paituna  must  have  been  left  by  the  gradual  filling  up  of  a 
large  lake  ;  it  lacks  the  high,  steeply-cut  banks  and  regular 
width  of  the  true  Amazonian  channels.  During  the  floods, 
this  region  is,  in  fact,  a  great  lake,  and  the  igarape  is  only 
marked  by  the  clumps  of  trees  and  bamboos  along  its  edge. 
In  course  of  time,  very  likely,  it  will  become  the  main  outlet 
of  the  Maecurii  ;  then  the  old  channel  will  fill  up,  or  remain 
as  diftcrOy  through  which  Amazonian  water  will  flow  into  the 

The  Maecurii  itself,  where  we  enter  it,  is  a  hundred  and 
fifty  yards  broad,  and  ten  or  twelve  feet  deep  ;  water  dark, 
leaf-stained,  but  almost  free  from  clay  and  mud.  It  is  almost 
as  crooked  as  the  Paituna,  but  the  banks  are  well  defined  ; 
often  high  enough  to  be  out  of  reach  of  the  floods,  as  on  the 
raised  Amazonian  borders.  We  observe,  what  has  often 
been  noticed  elsewhere,  that  there  are  two  types  of  vegeta- 
tion, marking  the  high  and  low  varzea  banks  ;  *  on  the  for- 
mer, for  instance,  the  urucury  palm  t  grows  abundantly,  but 
on  the  lower  ground  its  place  is  taken  by  the  javary.  %     As  it 

*  Or  high  varzea,  and  low  ygapo.  t  Attalea  excelsa. 

X  Astrocaryum  javari. 



generally  happens  that  there  are  high  banks  on  one  side,  and 
lovv^  ones  on  the  other,  we  commonly  see  the  two  kinds  of 
palms  collected  on  opposite  shores.  Rarely,  a  point  of  low 
terra  firme  comes  down  to  the  river,  and  then  the  picture  is 
changed  altogether  ;  thick  forest  takes  the  place  of  the  palms 
and  bamboos  ;  the  grass  disappears  along  the  water's  edge, 
and  great  branches  reach  out  over  it,  leaving  shady  depths 

We  pass  the  little  settlements  of  Curimatd  and  Pery, 
each  with  three  or  four  thatched  houses  ;  after  this  there  are 
no  more  signs  of  habitation  until  we  reach  Lake  Maripd,  six 

View  on  Lake  Maripa 

miles  above  the  Paituna.  The  lake  communicates  with  the 
river  by  a  little,  swift-flowing  igarape,  which  is  too  shallow 
for  our  canoe  ;  so  one  of  the  men  explores  along  the  bank 
until  he  finds  two  fishermen,  into  whose  small  boat  we  crowd, 
the  gunwale  hardly  an  inch  above  the  water.  A  quarter  of  a 
mile  up  the  igarape,  we  emerge  into  the  lake,  one  of  those 
beautiful  sheets  of  water  that  are  forever  surprising  the  trav- 
eller, when  he  looks  only  for  dry  land  or  shallow  varzea 
pools.  Lake  Maripa  is  almost  surrounded  by  terra  firme  : 

354  BRAZIL. 

ridges,  fifty  or  sixty  feet  high,  rising  steeply  from  the 
water  in  half  a  dozen  places  ;  but  between  them  there  are 
great  tracts  of  varzea  meadow  and  woods,  stretching  back  far 
into  the  interior.  At  least  one  great  island  of  high  land  is 
cut  off,  between  the  lake  and  the  river.  The  whole  region 
is  but  another  illustration  of  what  we  have  seen  on  the  Cu- 
rua  :  terra  firme  and  varzea  mingled  in  inextricable  confu- 
sion, as  if  the  ridges  had  sunk  into  the  river-plain.  Amid  all 
this  picturesque  confusion,  the  placid  lake  spreads  its  bright 
waters,  reflecting  here  a  rocky,  forest-covered  point,  there  a 
grassy  shore.  Fish  leap  up  to  the  sunshine  ;  the  birds  call 
from  highest  branches  ;  the  Indians  love  Maripa,  not  because 
they  comprehend  its  charms,  but  because,  somewhere  in 
their  simple  hearts,  they  have  a  child's  love  for  all  beautiful 

There  are  a  dozen  houses  scattered  here  and  there  ;  we 
find  shelter  for  the  night  in  one  of  them,  and  old  Lauren^o 
is  mightily  proud  of  his  guests.  Here,  too,  we  pick  up  an- 
other canoe-hand  —  a  young  Indian,  who  has  already  as- 
cended the  river  far  among  the  falls.  The  fishermen  and 
salsaparilla-gatherers  sometimes  go  there,  but  we  cannot 
find  that  any  white  man  has  ventured  above  the  first  rapids. 

There  is  another  lake  near  by — Lago  dc  Maripa  do  Cen- 
iro ;  we  make  a  vain  attempt  to  reach  it  over  the  half-flooded 
■meadows  ;  this,  and  our  explorations  about  Maripa,  occupy 
half  a  day,  so  that  it  is  near  noon  before  we  return  to  our 
canoe.  Up  the  river  again,  around  an  interminable  series  of 
bends,  which  seem  always  to  bring  us  back  to  our  starting- 
place.  At  length  we  stop,  where  three  or  four  uprights,  still 
•standing,  mark  the  site  of  an  old  fazenda  ;  Maripa  (so  we 
have  christened  our  new  man)  says  that  it  belonged  to 
one   Brutin,  and  from  him   the  little  hill   near  by  took   its 

THE   MAECURU.  355 

name.  Senhor  Brutin,  in  a  tight  house,  may  have  slept  well 
enough  ;  but  we,  who  must  fight  the  mosquitoes  all  night, 
are  much  inclined  to  curse  the  place  and  all  connected  with 
it.  D.,  it  is  true,  has  an  army-tent,  which  he  brought  from 
Pernambuco  expressly  for  such  a  trip ;  but  when  we  have  set 
it  up,  we  find,  to  our  disgust,  that  the  maker  sought  only  a 
free  circulation  under  it ;  there  is  a  foot's  space  between  the 
edge  of  the  canvas  and  the  ground  ;  fill  this  with  branches  as 
we  will,  the  littfe  torments  come  in  by  thousands,  and  we  are 
soon  glad  enough  to  leave  the  stifling  place  for  our  cool  ham- 
mocks outside.  Consider  our  disgust  when,  going  on  a  mile 
or  so  next  morning,  we  hear  the  cocks  crowing  at  Maripa ! 
The  crooked  channel  has  brought  us  close  to  the  lake  again ; 
we  might  have  walked  across  by  a  good  path,  and  passed  a 
comfortable  night  at  our  old  quarters. 

After  this,  the  river  is  less  tortuous  ;  we  advance  rapidly, 
stopping  only  where  some  terra  firme  point  gives  us  a  little 
glimpse  of  the  geology.  There  are  no  more  houses ;  the 
campos  cease  a  few  miles  above  Maripa,  and  now  there  is 
only  the  rich  forest,  varzea  or  terra  firme,  with  few  palms, 
but  numberless  vines,  and  thick,  interlaced  branches.  The 
low  woods,  especially,  are  beautiful  beyond  all  language  ; 
ifigd  and  taixi  trees  *  are  in  full  bloom  ;  with  them  grow 
araparys,'^  dark  branches  as  dense  as  thatch,  and  the  leaves 
imbricated  so  that  hardly  a  drop  of  rain  can  pass  through 
them.  The  ^/^//.y,  J  strangler-trees,  attract  our  attention  by 
their  strange  forms;  the  inongubas%  by  their  mottled,  gray 
and  green  trunks,  and  deciduous  foliage;  the  imbanbas\  by 
their  white,  branching  stems,  like  candelabras,  and  their  great, 

*  Inga,  sp.  var.  t  Leguminosae. 

\  Clusia,  sp.  §  Bombax  monguba. 

3  Cecropia,  sp.  var. 



palmate,  silver- lined  leaves.     Sand-banks  here  and  there  are 
marked  by  h'nes  oi  ai'acd  bushes,*  half  submerged. 

Our  life  settles  into  a  pleasant  routine  ;  at  every  camp 

the  men  fish 
or  hunt,  and 
our  forest- 
table  is  pret- 
ty well  sup- 
plied. The 
fish  are  gen- 
erally large 
/  i r anlias  ^ 
which  are  so 
here  that 
bathing  in 
the  river  is 
quite  out  of 
the  question. 
Maripa  takes 
his  bow  and 
arrows,  and 
perches      on 

-    some     over- 
Indian  Shooting  Fish.  t 

branch  or  water-washed  root  to  shoot  curiniatds  and  Uiaui- 
arcs ;  he  stands  like  a  statue  until  a  fish  passes  underneath  ; 
then  the  bow  is  drawn,  quick  as  light,  and  the  arrow  hardly 
leaves  a  ripple  as  it  cuts  through  the  water.      Often  the  shots 

*  Psidium,  sp. 

THE   MAECURU.  35/ 

are  unsuccessful,  for  this  kind  of  sport  requires  no  little  skill ; 
the  fisherman  must  allow  for  the  refraction  of  the  water,  or 
he  will  certainly  miss  his  mark.  Besides  the  fish,  we  are 
often  treated  to  a  mareca  duck,*  for  the  birds  are  numerous 
about  the  river  and  its  lakes.  The  young  are  pretty,  plushy 
things,  quite  active  and  vigorous.  Once  the  men  shoot  at 
an  old  duck,  missing  her,  but  cruelly  wounding  some  of  the 
little  ones  about  her.  The  mother  only  swims  off  a  few 
yards,  calling  pitifully,  but  bravely  holding  her  ground  as  we 
come  up  ;  the  father  appears  from  the  woods  and  echoes  her 
cries.  I  think  even  our  Indians  are  struck  with  remorse,  for 
they  do  not  molest  the  birds  further. 

Our  course  now  is  nearly  due  north,  by  woods  all  aflame 
with  the  taixi-blossoms.  Little  streams  flow  in,  here  and 
there,  from  lakes  on  either  side.  Maripa  points  out  the  Iga- 
rape  de  Turard,  and,  farther  north,  the  Igarape  de  Ctcjiibim^ 
outlets  of  lakes  which  we  have  already  visited  from  Paracary. 
None  of  these  lakes  are  very  large  ;  they  occupy  crooked 
varzea  bays,  which  extend  so  far  back  from  the  Maecurii  that 
they  seem  to  have  no  communication  with  it.  Only  as  we 
near  the  falls,  the  terra  firme  draws  in  to  the  river-banks. 
Now  the  current  is  so  strong  that  the  men  have  hard  work  to 
force  the  canoe  against  it ;  the  channel  is  shallow,  with  shift- 
ing sand-banks  here  and  there,  where  the  turtles  will  come  a 
little  later  to  deposit  their  eggs. 

On  the  morning  of  the  fourth  day  after  leaving  Maripa, 
we  hear  the  roar  of  the  rapids.  Two  miles  yet  we  have  to 
paddle  around  the  curves ;  then  we  see  a  great  sheet  of 
white  foam,  sweeping  half  a  mile  down  the  long,  rocky 
slope,  and  whirling   into  the  still  water  below.     The  main 

*  Anas  autumnalis. 

358  BRAZIL. 

channel  here  is  three  hundred  yards  broad,  and  there  are 
three  or  four  narrow  side-channels,  cutting  off  little  wooded 
islands  ;  through  them  the  water  rushes  like  a  millstream  : 
a  pretty  sight,  but  the  navigation  appears  very  dubious. 
However,  we  choose  a  promising  channel  and  push  ahead, 
the  men  paddling  with  a  will.  We  might  as  well  try  to  row 
up  Niagara  ;  we  cannot  even  get  into  the  main  rapids,  such 
is  the  force  of  the  current  below.  Another  channel  is  tried 
with  like  success  ;  it  becomes  evident  that  our  antagonist  is 
a  pretty  formidable  one. 

Crossing  to  a  small  channel  on  the  eastern  side,  we  un- 
load our  canoe,  and  make  another  attempt,  pulling  along 
by  the  branches  on  shore.  This  answers  very  well  until  we 
come  to  a  huge  tree,  which  has  fallen  directly  across  the  cur- 
rent, and  lodged  on  some  rocks  far  out  in  the  swift  water  ; 
we  cannot  pass  this  obstacle,  and  it  is  clearly  foolhardy  to 
think  of  getting  around  it ;  so  we  drift  back  helplessly  to  the 
still  water. 

Next,  we  try  to  drag  the  canoe  over  by  land,  but  we  are 
stopped  in  the  outset  by  a  steep  bank,  beyond  which,  if  we 
could  ascend  it,  the  way  is  clear  enough.  After  four  hours 
of  very  hard  work,  we  only  succeed  in  getting  one  end  of  the 
heavy  canoe  to  the  top.  The  men  are  tired  and  discouraged, 
and  the  prospects  for  ascending  at  all  look  very  gloomy. 

It  is  four  o'clock  in  the  afternoon.  As  a  last  resource,  we 
resolve  to  attempt  the  broad  main  channel,  though  the  very 
sight  of  it  is  chilling.  Leaving  all  the  baggage  on  the  bank, 
we  cross  to  the  western  side  ;  the  men  jump  into  the  water, 
struggling  for  a  footing  among  the  rocks,  and  dragging  the 
canoe  along,  inch  by  inch.  The  first  line  of  foam  is  passed, 
and  the  crew  are  shouting  like  demons.  We  are  overboard 
with  the  rest,  water  up  to  our  waists,  to  our  breasts,  over 

THE   MAECURU.  359 

our  heads  in  deep  places,  but  we  cling  to  the  gunwale,  and 
somebody  else  is  sure  to  have  a  footing  ;  so  we  advance, 
steadily.  "  Piranha,  don't  bite  my  foot!  "  shouts  Joaquim  ; 
but  luckily  there  are  no  piranhas  in  the  swift  current.  A 
wall  of  rock  rises  before  us  ;  we  pull  the  canoe  half-way 
across  the  rapids,  until  we  find  a  gap,  through  which  we 
struggle  somehow  ;  water  seething  and  boiling,  and  rushing 
on  madly  ;  dashing  spray  into  our  eyes,  dashing  big  waves 
against  our  bodies,  dashing,  gurgling,  hissing ;  roaring  and 
foaming  about  the  black  bowlders,  and  we  like  black  specks 
in  the  midst  of  it  all,  but  always  struggling  upward.  So,  in 
an  hour's  time,  we  stand  at  the  top,  dripping  from  head  to 
foot,  cheering,  shaking  hands,  singing.  Well,  it  is  no  slight 
victory,  this  one  over  the  Pannacil  rapid.  Looking  down 
the  white  slope,  we  wonder  how  we  ever  ascended  it. 

F.  seizes  the  brandy-flask,  and  remembering  yesterday's 
OUendorf-lesson,  remarks  :  "I  am  neider  ashamed  nor  afraid, 
I  am  tirsty."  We  shout  approvingly,  for  everybody  is 
good-natured  now.  After  supper  the  men  get  a  reeking 
bowl  of  punch,  that  makes  their  eyes  water.  We  sleep 
within  sound  of  the  rapids.  Once,  in  the  night,  a  troop  of 
howling-monkeys  pass  over  our  heads,  and  the  woods  echo 
with  their  lugubrious  concert.  We  have  heard  them  often 
along  the  river-banks,  and  once  or  twice  they  have  appeared 
on  the  tree-tops,  dodging  behind  branches,  and  setting  up 
a  howl  of  delight  when  we  are  well  past  them. 

Now  all  obstacles  ahead  seem  light ;  and  in  fact,  the  first 
succeeding  rapids  are  comparatively  easy  ones.  We  pass  six 
this  day,  and  three  during  the  next  forenoon.  But  the  elev- 
enth rapid  is  a  very  hard  one  ;  more  spiteful  than  the  first, 
though  it  is  not  so  long.  We  are  well  up  to  our  work  now ; 
the  men  go  at  it,  laughing,  and  even  when  we  are  in  the  very 

360  BRAZIL. 

midst  of  the  foam,  they  let  go  their  hold  to  dive  into  the 
pools  and  scramble  over  the  black  rocks.  Once  we  have  to 
go  up  a  sheer  fall  of  three  feet  or  more  ;  here  they  work  like 
giants,  and  actually  lift  the  heavy  canoe  over  the  obstacle.  It 
is  a  good  day's  work,  we  agree  ;  so  the  camp  is  made  here, 
and  we  sup  royally  on  a  great  imUiim-h'wd  *  which  the  men 
have  shot.  In  the  morning  we  go  on,  through  a  clear  chan- 
nel now,  for  ten  miles  or  more  ;  the  banks  high,  and  glori- 
ously wooded,  with  cliffs  here  and  there,  and  picturesque 
hills.  The  river  is  two  hundred  yards  in  average  width,  and 
quite  deep. 

We  enter  the  rapids  again,  where  they  come  in  quick  suc- 
cession along  the  channel,  and  each  one,  it  would  seem, 
worse  than  the  last.  The  fifteenth  cachoeira  is  a  very  bad 
one.  We  work  with  the  men,  up  to  our  breasts  in  the 
water ;  once,  in  the  very  swiftest  current,  an  electric  eel 
passes  twice  by  my  knee,  each  time  giving  me  a  sharp  shock. 
I  dare  not  let  go  my  hold  of  the  canoe,  and  it  is  impossible 
to  scramble  into  it  from  the  swift  water ;  I  bear  the  battery  as 
well  as  I  can,  making  a  wry  face,  to  be  sure,  but  I  am  none 
the  worse  for  the  little  adventure.  These  eels,  in  the  rapids, 
must  be  different  from  those  that  live  in  the  pools  about  the 
lowlands  ;  the  Indians  call  them  purakc\  and  speak  of  several 

The  sixteenth  fall  is  long  and  strong,  and  the  men  have 
to  go  overboard  again.  The  first  turn  beyond  this  brings  us 
to  the  seventeenth  fall,  a  smooth,  glistening  sheet,  sweeping 
half  a  mile  around  a  curve,  without  a  single  rock  to  break 
its  force.  It  is  clearly  worse  than  any  we  have  passed.  We 
stop  on  the  shore,  just  below,  to  breakfast  and  hold  a  council 

*  Mitu  tuberosa. 

THE   MAECURU.  361 

of  war.  The  steady  hiss  of  the  current  almost  drowns  our 
words ;  the  men  are  whispering  together,  with  dissatisfied 

D.  wanders  off  with  his  geological  hammer,  and  presently 
calls  to  us  triumphantly ;  among  the  sandstone  bowlders 
along  the  shore  he  has  found  a  block  full  of  Devonian  fos- 
sils. In  a  moment  we  are  all  at  it,  turning  over  this  stone 
and  that,  generally  finding  only  the  hard,  sterile  rock,  but 
sometimes  hitting  on  a  rich  fragment,  with  scores  of  beauti- 
ful shells.  Now,  we  have  been  passing  through  a  descend- 
ing series  of  rock  ;  that  is,  the  strata  dip  to  the  south  or 
southwest,  and  Ave,  going  north,  have  been  continually  find- 
ing older  rocks.  It  happens  that  the  strata  seen  just  below 
here  correspond  to  the  lowest  rocks  that  we  have  seen  near 
Monte  Alegre ;  beyond  this,  therefore,  we  can  look  for  real 
discoveries — rocks  that  we  have  not  yet  seen.  The  fossil- 
iferous  bowlders  have  clearly  been  washed  down  the  stream  ; 
perhaps  from  the  bed  of  the  rapid  itself.  At  any  rate,  we 
can  hope  to  find  this,  and  still  older  strata,  above,  along  the 
banks.  The  fossils  decide  the  question  ;  we  will  attempt  the 
Tea  Pichiina  *  rapid. 

The  luggage  is  tossed  out,  and  the  men  are  stripped  to 
their  work  ;  seven  of  us  in  all,  we  drag  the  canoe  to  the  base 
of  the  Long  incline,  keeping  near  the  eastern  shore,  and  aid- 
ing ourselves  as  we  can,  with  the  branches  that  droop  over 
the  current.  The  water  is  above  our  waists,  running  now. 
with  immense  force ;  bottom  of  smooth,  hard  rock,  with  roll- 
ing pebbles  that  give  no  foothold.  We  struggle  on  for  a  few 
yards  ;  the  outside  men  are  washed  off  their  feet,  and  those 

*  This  appears  to  mean  "Black  Village."    There  are  stories  of  former  negro  vil- 
lages on  the  Maecuru. 



near  the  shore  can  hardly  keep  their  places  by  holding  to  the 
boughs.  D.  shouts  to  one  to  get  into  the  boat ;  he  does  so 
with  some  difficulty,  and  manages  to  secure  the  bow  with  a 
turn  of  rope  about  a  branch  ;  with  this  we  get  a  little  resting- 
spell.  Now  the  strongest  man  is  sent  ahead  with  another 
rope ;  he  clambers  along  the  shore,  holding  to  roots  and 
twigs  ;  once  nearly  washed  away,  but  eventually  he  makes 
his  rope  fast  to  a  tree,  and  we  in  the  boat  pull  on  it,  hand 
over  hand,  until  we  bring  ourselves  up  to  the  knot ;   in  this 

Camp   Scene   on  the   Maecuru. 

way  we  have  advanced  twenty  feet,  but  the  very  sight  of  the 
torrent  about  us  is  enouo-h  to  turn  one  dizzy.  Never  mind  : 
we  take  a  little  breathing-spell,  and  then  repeat  the  manoeu- 
vre. So,  by  the  espia,  and  by  wading  in  less  dangerous 
spots,  we  make  our  way  up  at  a  snail's  pace.  After  four 
hours  of  this  labor  we  near  the  top  of  the  rapid  ;  already  we 
are   congratulating    ourselves   that   the  worst  is   over,  when 

THE   MAECURU.  363 

some  unlucky  genius  prompts  one  of  the  men  to  aid  matters 
by  pushing  with  a  pole  away  from  the  bank.  In  an  instant 
the  current  catches  us,  and  whirls  us  into  the  very  centre  ; 
somebody  springs  to  the  helm,  but  it  is  too  late  to  reach  the 
bank  again  ;  down  we  go,  at  express-train  speed,  reaching 
the  bottom  again  in  rather  less  than  three  minutes  ;  fortu- 
nately there  are  no  rocks  in  the  way. 

It  is  too  late  for  another  attempt  to-night,  so  we  camp  on 
the  shore,  tired  and  gloomy.  However,  we  are  at  it  again 
next  day,  taking  now  the  opposite,  and  convex  side,  which 
we  should  have  tried  in  the  outset.  It  is  a  hard  pull,  but  the 
rapid  is  beaten  at  last,  and  to  crown  our  triumph  we  find  the 
fossil-beds  that  we  were  looking  for,  shortly  above,  at  the 
nineteenth  fall;  better,  even,  than  the  fragments  promised.* 
We  stop  here  only  a  little  while,  leaving  more  extended  ex- 
plorations for  our  return. 

Just  above  the  Tea  Pichuna  rapid,  Ave  have  passed  a  small 
tributary  on  the  eastern  side,  the  only  one  that  we  have  seen 
since  entering  the  falls.  Above  this  there  are  rapids  again, 
in  close  succession  ;  the  eighteenth  a  slight  one,  which  we 
dash  through  merrily ;  the  nineteenth  a  half-mile-long  mass 
of  foam,  which  looks  very  bad,  but  proves  to  be  quite  easy, 
because  we  readily  get  foothold  among  the  rocks.  The  long- 
est rapid  of  all  is  the  twenty-second,  a  good  three-quarters 
of  a  mile  from  top  to  bottom,  and  full  of  ugly-looking  black 
rocks  ;  however,  we  have  learned  that  these  are  aids  rather 
than  hinderances,  because  they  give  us  resting-places  and 
supports  for  hands  and  feet ;  we  are  fearless  now,  and  think 

*  This  was  the  first  discovery  of  these  rocks,  afterward  identified  by  myself  at 
the  Lontra  Rapids  of  the  Curua ;  I  have  reversed  the  time-order  of  the  two  explo- 
rations. The  geological  results  of  the  Maecuru  expedition  are  in  the  hands  of  Prof. 
O.  A.  Derby,  of  Rio  de  Janeiro. 

364  BRAZIL. 

nothing  of  venturing  out  into  the  current  to  hammer  at  some 
promising  ledge,  or  capture  a  bright-colored  insect.  Many 
of  these  insects  about  the  rapids  are  of  peculiar  species,  the 
larvae  of  which  live  in  swift-running  water  ;  the  pretty  drag- 
on-flies and  bronze-winged  Agrions  are  especially  conspicu- 
ous. My  boxes  are  soon  full,  and  I  only  regret  the  lack  of 
time  and  space  to  amass  a  large  collection  in  this  unknown 

We  are  passing  now  between  sandstone  cliffs  a  hundred 
feet  high,  or  hills  covered  with  heavy  forest.  Sometimes  we 
catch  glimpses  of  a  blue  hill  or  mountain,  five  or  six  miles 
yet  to  the  north.*  But  we  are  not  fated  to  reach  it  on  this 
voyage.  It  is  more  than  two  weeks  since  we  left  Monte 
Alegre ;  the  provisions  are  nearly  exhausted,  and  right  ahead 
of  us  appears  the  twenty-sixth  fall,  a  sheer  leap  of  twenty- 
five  feet.  We  might,  indeed,  pass  it  by  land  ;  there  are  no 
high  banks  in  the  way  ;  we  find  an  old  path  that  may  have 
been  used  by  salsaparilla-hunters  to  drag  their  light  canoes 
over.  But  the  men  rebel  outright ;  they  urge,  truly  enough, 
that  they  never  agreed  to  go  farther  than  this  Pancada 
Grande,  which  is  rarely  attained,  even  by  the  drug-gath- 
erers. For  our  part,  we  would  be  willing  to  go  on  for  a 
day  or  two  longer  ;  report  has  it  that  there  is  clear  water 
for  a  day's  journey  above  this  place,  and  we  are  always  find- 
ing older  rocks  as  we  advance.  But  after  weighing  all  the 
pros  and  cons,  it  is  decided  that  we  will  be  wiser  to  give  way 
to  the  men  and  the  empty  provision-boxes.  We  stop  only 
for  a  hasty  sketch  of  the  Pancada  Grande,  and  a  baromet- 
rical observation;    then  we   begin  our   downward  journey, 

*  Probably  the  so-called  Serra  de  Tititica,  a  flat-topped  ridge  or  table-land, 
faintly  seen  from  the  top  of  Erere ;  it  must  be  fifteen  hundred  feet  above  the  Ama- 

THE   MAECURU.  365 

shooting  the  rapids  where  we  dare  to,  wading  down  through 
the  more  difficult  ones,  until  we  reach  the  top  of  the  Tea 
Pichuna  fall,  where  we  stop  for  two  days  to  explore  the  fos- 
sil-bearing rocks  that  we  have  hardly  examined  before. 

Let  the  geologist  of  a  railroad  country  imagine,  if  he  can, 
our  predicament ;  a  bottomless  storehouse  of  beautiful  fos- 
sils, but  no  means  of  taking  them  away  except  our  small, 
heavy  canoe.  We  select  and  re-select  the  most  perfect  speci- 
mens; trim  every  one  until  it  can  be  trimmed  no  more;  the 
Indians  weave  baskets  of  palm-fibres,  and  we  pack  a  dozen 
of  them,  until  we  fear  to  put  more  in  the  canoe.  The  men, 
meanwhile,  have  been  hunting,  and  have  killed  a  wild  hog,* 
so  we  fare  royally,  and  only  regret  that  we  must  leave  the 
place  so  soon.  Our  collection  has  cost  us  two  days  of  steady 
work,  but,  as  D.  says,  it  is  ''boiled  down;"  perhaps  no 
other  collection  of  fossil  shells  was  ever  reduced,  in  the  field, 
to  a  smaller  bulk. 

Now  we  go  racing  down  the  rapids  again  ;  shooting  the 
Tea  Pichuna  gallantly,  but  obliged  to  unload  our  canoe  for 
one  or  two  of  the  worst  falls  below.  The  canoe  itself  is  be- 
ginning to  show  the  hard  usage  it  has  received  ;  there  are 
great  dents  and  cracks  in  the  bottom,  and  it  is  leaking  badly. 
However,  we  go  on  until  the  last  fall  is  passed  ;  safe  in  the 
quiet  water  below,  we  stop  to  recalk  the  boat,  lest  our  heavy 
load  should  sink  us  altogether.  So  easily  all  the  injury  is 
repaired  ;  for  ourselves,  we  are  as  healthy  as  possible,  and 
we  have  felt  nothing  at  all  of  the  fevers  that  rumor  had  placed 
about  the  falls.  Doubtless  it  is  very  unhealthy  there  at  cer- 
tain times,  but  it  has  assuredly  been  very  healthy  during  our 
voyage.     The  pium  flies  were  abundant  about  the  rapids,  and 

*  The  taitittt,  Dicotyles  torquatus. 

366  BRAZIL. 

they  have  left  their  marks  on  our  hands  and  faces,  but  these 
will  soon  disappear  ;  some  of  us  would  be  ready  to  repeat 
the  Maecuru  experience. 

We  return  by  way  of  Lago  Grande  de  Monte  Alegre. 
From  the  Paituna  to  the  lake,  the  river  is  two  hundred 
yards  wide,  or  more,  and  deep  enough  for  small  steamers. 
The  banks  are  high,  and  lined  with  bamboos  or  clumps  of 
forest.  We  pass  little  settlements  along  the  shore  ;  the 
largest  of  these,  Jauarary,  contains  ten  or  twelve  Indian 
houses.  It  lies  on  the  main  road  from  Monte  Alegre  to 
Paracary  and  Alenquer  ;  here  the  Maecuru  is  passed  by  a 
canoe-ferry,  the  herdsmen  swimming  their  horses,  as  they 
must  in  two  or  three  other  places  along  the  same  route.  Yet 
this  is  one  of  the  longest,  and  perhaps  the  most  travelled,  of 
all  roads  in  the  Amazons  valley. 

Where  it  enters  Lago  Grande,  the  Maecuru  has  formed  a 
long  tongue  of  land,  high  banks  of  the  river  shelving  off 
rapidly  to  the  low,  muddy  beach  of  the  lake,  on  either  side  ; 
here  there  is  a  beautiful  grove.  Great  waves  come  rolling  in 
with  the  east  wind  ;  we  can  just  see  the  southern  shore  of 
the  lake,  a  line  of  forest  fronting  the  Amazons,  and  breaking 
up  toward  the  west,  where  there  is  a  clear  horizon.  The 
lake  is  about  twenty-five  miles  long,  and  eight  or  ten  wide  ; 
shallow,  like  the  other  varzea  lakes,  but  with  a  deeper  chan- 
nel marking  the  river-course.  At  the  western  end  it  comes 
close  to  the  Tapard,  a  side-channel  of  the  Amazons  below 
the  mouth  of  the  Alenquer.  It  is  said  that  Lago  Grande  is 
connected  with  Lago  de  Paracary  by  a  strip  of  varzea 
meadow,  with  little  lakes,  where  canoes  can  pass  in  the 
flood-season.  This  strip  cuts  off  a  great  island  of  terra 
firme,  south  of  Paracary  :  another  instance  of  the  irregu- 
larity of  outline  which  characterizes  this  part  of  the  Amazo- 

THE   MAECURU.  367 

nian  flood-plain.  On  the  south,  Lago  Grande  communicates 
with  the  Amazons  by  a  single  narrow  channel,  the  Furo  de 
RicardOy  which  is  navigable  only  during  the  floods.  The 
lake  is  celebrated  for  its  pirarucu  fisheries,  sharing  the  har- 
vest with  Lago  de  Curua,  and  Lago  Grande  de  Villa 

The  wind  is  too  high  to  allow  us  to  cross  the  lake  with 
our  heavily  laden  canoe  ;  we  lounge  in  the  pleasant  grove 
until  near  sunset,  when  the  waters  are  smoother,  and  we  can 
run  down  to  the  outlet.  There  are,  in  fact,  two  outlets, 
which  unite  shortly  below,  receiving  the  crooked  little  Iga- 
rdpe-apdra,  through  which  water  flows  from  the  complicated 
net  of  lakes  and  channels  and  pools  about  the  Paituna.  The 
Maecurii  itself  is  very  crooked  below  the  lake,  and  it  varies 
in  width  from  two  hundred  yards  to  almost  half  a  mile  ;  the 
meadows  on  either  side  are  low  and  half-flooded,  and  the 
banks  are  not  distinctly  marked.  All  this  we  observe  dimly, 
during  our  long  evening  voyage  ;  when,  at  length,  we  reach 
a  herdsman's  house  on  the  banks,  we  are  glad  enough  to 
forget  the  mosquitoes  and  endless  channels  in  our  comfort- 
able hammocks. 

We  are  ofl"  again  by  four  o'clock  in  the  morning  ;  all  day 
tediously  paddling  along  the  monotonous  channel,  which  here 
hardly  varies  from  its  regular  width  of  about  two  hundred 
and  fifty  yards,  with  a  steady  east-northeast  course.  The 
banks  are  higher  now,  with  occasional  clumps  of  bamboos 
or  low  trees  :  beyond,  the  meadows  stretch  southward  to  the 
blue  line  of  forest  that  marks  the  Amazonian  shores  ;  to  the 
north  they  extend  to  the  Paituna  and  the  Erere  hills.  The 
white  beach  of  Monte  Alegre  comes  in  sight  at  length  ;  it  is 
dusk  when  we  leap  to  the  shore,  a  soiled  and  ragged  party, 
but  none  the  less  warmly  greeted  by  our  good  friends.      God 

368  BRAZIL. 

bless  the  Monte  Alegreans  for  their  kind   hearts  and  open 
doors  ! 

-  To  review:  The  Maecuru,  as  nearly  as  we  can  say,  rises 
in  about  lat.  i°  or  i°  30'  N.  and  long.  54°  W.  G.  It  flows 
with  a  general  southerly  course,  through  a  series  of  rapids  and 
falls,  with  intervals  of  still  water,  to  the  Pannacu  rapids,  near 
lat.  1°  12'  S.  and  long.  54°  18'  W.  G.  ;  below  this  the  naviga- 
tion is  clear,  at  least  in  the  wet  season.  The  channel  is  often 
very  tortuous,  but  it  retains  its  general  southerly  course  to 
the  embouchure  in  Lago  Grande  de  Monte  Alegre,  as  nearly 
as  possible  in  lat.  2°  20'  S.  and  long.  54°  W.  G.  From  the 
lake  it  flows  east-northeast,  until  it  touches  the  highland  at 
Monte  Alegre  ;  then  east-southeast,  dividing  just  before  it 
enters  the  Amazons,  in  about  lat.  2°  8'  S.,  and  long.  53°  35' 
W.  G.  The  whole  navigable  length  of  the  river,  from  the 
lower  falls,  is  about  one  hundred  and  fifteen  miles  ;  this  in- 
cludes all  the  curves,  and  the  lake.  Our  party  penetrated 
about  thirty-five  miles  beyond  the  Pannacu  rapid,  to  the 
Pancada  Grande,  one  hundred  and  fifty  miles  from  the  mouth 
by  the  river-curves,  but  hardly  half  as  far  in  a  direct  line.  It 
should  be  added  that  these  figures'  are  approximations  only. 

From  the  lower  rapids  to  Lago  Grande,  the  Maecuru 
flows  through  an  ever-widening  flood-plain.  On  the  eastern 
side,  where  it  is  bordered  by  the  high  Erere  hills,  the  outline 
of  this  plain  is  pretty  regular.  To  the  west  the  land  is  very 
low,  and  here  the  irregularities  are  endless :  every  little 
stream  that  flows  into  the  river  marks  a  great  tract  of  varzea 
meadow,  and  swamps,  and  lakes.  The  Cujubim  igarape,  for 
example,  enters  the  Maecuru  through  a  comparatively  narrow 
passage,  between  two  points  of  terra  firme  ;  but  above,  this 
strip  of  varzea  widens,  as  we  have  seen,  to  a  tract  at  least 
thirty  miles  long  and  ten   or  fifteen  broad.     So  at  Turara, 

THE   MAECURU.  369 

Mimi,  Maripa :  the  whole  eastern  side  is  a  jumble  of  mead- 
ows and  lakes  and  swamps  without  number,  all  flooded  dur- 
ing a  part  of  the  year,  but  with  points  and  islands  of  dry 
land  that  almost  defy  the  map-maker  by  their  crookedness. 

The  parallelism  between  the  Maecuru  and  the  Curua  is 
very  clear.  Both  rise  on  the  southern  slope  of  the  Guiana 
Mountains,  and  flow  southward,  with  many  rapids  and  falls, 
until  they  near  the  Amazons  ;  here  they  pass  through  long, 
irregular  tongues  of  varzea,  with  small  lakes  on  either  side. 
Both  flow  through  long  varzea  lakes,  which  communicate 
with  the  Amazons  by  narrow  channels,  navigable  in  winter ; 
both,  on  leaving  the  lakes,  turn  sharply  to  the  east,  and 
northeast,  touching  the  highland  at  one  point,  and  then  turn- 
ing southeast,  until  they  empty  into  the  Amazons.  A  kind 
of  parallelism  can  be  traced,  also,  between  the  Igarape  de 
Paituna  and  the  equally  crooked  Igarape  de  Itacarara.  But 
the  Curua  diflers  notably,  in  that  it  receives  contributions 
from  the  Amazons,  first  by  the  long  channel  of  the  Mamauru, 
and  again  by  the  short,  wide  upper  mouth  of  the  Igarape 
d'Alenquer ;  the  Maecuru  gets  no  Amazonian  water  what- 
ever, except  during  the  floods,  when  the  great  river  flows 
over  into  Lago  Grande,  first  from  Paracary  and  then  by  the 
little  Furo  de  Ricardo. 

D.  surveys  the  well-filled  boxes  of  fossils  which  we  have 
been  packing.  **Well,  F.,"  says  he,  ''here  we  are;  and 
what  shall  I  report  about  our  trip  ?  " 

**  How's  dat  for  high  ?  "  answers  F. 



THE  late  afternoon  sun  shines  full  in  our  faces  as  we  toil 
up  the  long  slope  that  lies  between  the  canoe-port  and 
the  village  of  Erere.  The  landscape  is  singularly  home-like 
in  many  of  its  features  :  ridgy  meadows,  with  cattle  browsing 
here  and  there  on  the  young  grass ;  richer  green  marking  the 
tree-lined  water-courses  ;  outlined  against  the  sky,  a  rugged 
mountain  mass,  such  as  one  may  see  almost  anywhere  in 
western  Massachusetts  ;  and  to  the  north,  range  after  range 
of  forest-clad  hills.  But  before  us  the  thatched  houses  of  the 
village  peep  out  from  among  orange-groves  and  palm-trees  ; 
and  down  the  narrow  path  come  a  troop  of  black-eyed  In- 
dian girls,  with  their  baskets  of  Sunday  finery  balanced  on 
their  heads  ;  they  are  going  to  Monte  Alegre  to  attend  some 
church  festival. 

Erere  is  an  Indian  village,  lying  to  the  north  of  the  Ama- 
zons, about  eight  miles  from  Monte  Alegre.  The  place  has 
been  inhabited  from  time  immemorial ;  probably  long  before 
Orrelana  made  his  adventurous  voyage  down  the  river,  or 
Caldeira  founded  Para.  And  as  the  village  is  removed  from 
the  main  lines  of  travel,  it  happens  that  the  twenty-five  or 
thirty  families  who  rem'ain  here  have  preserved,  almost  un- 
changed,  many  of  the  aboriginal  customs,  and  those  intro- 


duced  by  the  early  Jesuit  missionaries.     It  is,  in  fact,  a  ty- 
pical village  of  the  semi-civilized  Amazonian  Indians.* 

The  olive-skinned  lassies  are  crossing  the  brook  now, 
splashing  the  water  a  little  in  fun,  and  greeting  us  with  a 
smiling  ^'Adcos,  Senhor,''  as  they  pass  on.  Their  bare  feet 
come  down  firmly  but  softly,  never  minding  the  little  round 
stones  that  cover  the  path  ;  they  wear  clean  calico  skirts  and 
modest  sacks,  and  their  uncovered,  purple-black  hair  is  caught 
up  with  horn  combs,  or  streams  down  their  backs.  Ate  reste^ 
one  or  two  of  the  faces  are  pretty  enough,  but  the  most  are 
plain.  An  artist  might  object  that  the  women  were  too  short 
and  heavy  for  beauty  ;  but  over  all  drawbacks  of  form  and 
feature,  you  cannot  help  admiring  the  splendid  motion  of  a 
body  untrammelled  by  laced  stays  and  high-heeled  shoes ; 
shoulders  are  thrown  back,  and  heads  are  erect  under  their 
burdens  ;  and  they  would  march  just  as  well  if  the  loads 
were  five  times  as  heavy.  These  healthy  limbs  and  supple 
bodies  will  bear  up  for  hours  unwearied,  with  the  weight  of 
a  sack  of  flour  balanced  over  them  ;  aye,  and  the  girls  will 
dance  half  the  night  afterward  ! 

Three  or  four  older  people  in  the  troop  are  wrinkled,  but 
not  decrepit ;  bright-eyed,  and  firm-footed,  greeting  us  very 
gravely  and  politely,  and  holding  their  place  in  the  crowd  of 
younger  ones  with  a  kind  of  patriarchal  dignity.  They  make 
one  or  two  good-natured  inquiries,  such  as  naturally  arise 
from  the  apparition  of  a  party  of  strange  Americans  on  their 
quiet  roads.  Then  the  group  passes  on,  and  we  resume  our 

*  I  have  studied  these  people  during  several  years  of  almost  constant  intercourse 
with  them,  living  for  weeks  in  their  villages  or  making  long  explorations  with  no 
other  companions  ;  so  it  will  not,  perhaps,  be  very  surprising  if  my  estimate  of  their 
character  differs  from  that  of  certain  steamboat  travellers. 

372  BRAZIL. 

There  is  a  little  white  chapel  on  the  brow  of  the  hill, 
and  the  houses  just  around  it  are  set  with  some  show  of  reg- 
ularity. We  observe  an  attempt  at  a  square  also,  but  it  is  a 
side-hill  affair,  and  all  grown  over  with  weeds.  After  this 
weak  little  effort  toward  civilization,  the  houses  relapse  into 
barbarism,  and  go  straying  away  in  picturesque  confusion, 
hiding  under  the  orange-groves  and  great,  bushy  mango- 
trees  as  if  they  shunned  observation.  Our  own  quarters — 
the  best  the  place  affords — are  in  an  adobe  house  near  the 
chapel  ;  in  other  words,  if  you  please,  a  mud  house,  but  with 
wooden  doors  and  window-shutters,  and  a  good  palm-thatch 
roof;  no  floor  except  the  native  earth,  but  that  is  dry  and 
hard,  and  with  clean  mats  to  spread  under  our  hammocks  Ave 
shall  do  very  well.  Our  baggage  is  lying  at  the  canoe-land- 
ing, two  miles  away  ;  half  the  women  and  girls  in  the  village 
go  trooping  after  it,  willing  enough  to  do  a  favor  for  the 
America7tos,  and  earn  a  few  honest  coppers  in  the  doing ;  by 
sunset  they  are  back  again,  bringing  our  valises  and  pro- 
vision-cans on  their  heads ;  then,  with  everything  under 
shelter,  we  eat  our  dinner  of  salt  beef  and  mandioca-meal 
with  the  seasoning  of  a  hearty  appetite. 

At  long  intervals  Erere  has  been  visited  by  European  and 
American  travellers.  Professor  Agassiz  spent  a  day  here  ; 
Wallace  and  Hartt  have  made  the  name  a  classic  one  in  the 
literature  of  science.  But  that  a  lady — and  an  American 
lady  at  that — should  bravely  tramp  over  the  weary  miles  of 
sandy  campo  from  Monte  Alegre,  is  an  unheard-of  thing. 
Even  the  incurious  Indians  are  aroused,  and  the  whole  pop- 
ulation of  the  village  comes  crowding  around  our  doors  and 
windowSo  The  older  girls  and  women  enter  unasked,  not 
from  any  lack  of  poHteness,  but  because  here  every  door  is 
open  to  any  one  that  cares  to  enter,  and  the  good  people 


only  wish  to  give  a  friendly  greeting  to  the  branca.  Little 
naked  boys  and  girls  hide  themselves  behind  their  mothers' 
skirts,  or  peep  in  at  the  windows  to  catch  a  glimpse  of  this 
wonderful  curiosity.  At  length,  finding  their  attentions  to 
the  lady  more  pressing  than  pleasant,  I  order  the  crowd  out. 
They  go  away  quietly  and  politely,  conversing  with  each 
other  in  subdued  tones,  and  we  retire  to  our  hammocks  and 
mosquito-nets.  The  night-wind  blows  in  freshly  through  the 
open  doors  and  windows,  but,  save  a  hungry  dog,  no  in- 
truder disturbs  our  rest.  Among  all  this  honest  people,  you 
will  hardly  find  one  who  would  so  far  forget  the  rules  of  hos- 
pitality as  to  pilfer  from  a  stranger. 

On  the  Amazons  people  rise  with  the  sun.  A  bath  in 
the  river,  or  in  the  nearest  spring,  sets  the  skin  in  an  honest, 
healthy  glow,  and  sharpens  up  the  mind  to  appreciate  the 
splendor  of  an  unclouded  morning.  The  Indians  bathe,  al- 
ways once,  and  often  twice,  a  day.  Even  the  toddling  little 
boys  and  girls  spatter  themselves  with  water  from  a  calabash. 

The  spring  at  Erere  is  down  in  a  shady  hollow — a  cool, 
verdant  retreat,  with  noble  palms,  and  tall  forest-trees,  and 
broad-leaved  vines ;  such  a  combination  as  one  sees  only  in 
these  favored  spots.  Within  a  circle  of  fifty  yards  around 
the  spring  there  are  no  less  than  nine  species  of  palms,  in- 
cluding the  noble  bacaba*  and  the  graceful  tiriicttry,\  princes 
in  their  princely  tribe ;  and  these  mingled  with  bamboos,  and 
giant  arrow-leaved  ajihigas,  j^  and  orchids  on  the  branches. 
Bathing  here  is  a  romance  :  the  air  is  full  of  wind-whisper- 
ings among  the  leaflets  and  soft  perfumes  from  the  palm 
blossoms;  emerald -tinted  humming-birds — *' kiss -flowers," 
the  Brazilians  say — balance   themselves  before   the  pendent 

*  CEnocarpus  bacaba.  +  Attalea  excelsa. 

+  Calladium,  sp. 



blossoms  ;  and  fairy  brown  butterflies,  just  visible,  flit  along 
the  ground.  Indian  women,  coming  down  the  path  with 
earthen  water-jars  balanced  on  their  heads,  wait  quietly  in 
the  forest  until  the  braiicos  have  finished  their  bath.  Then 
they  pass  us  with  a  '' Bons  dias,  senJiores^'  and  stoop  to 
fill   their  jars   in    the    little   inclosed   space   that   is   reserved 

for    drinking-water. 

Half-a-dozen  naked 
brown  boys  and  girls 
follow,  each  with  a 
round  calabash-jug. 
They  hold  out  their 
open  palms  for  a 
blessing,  and  kiss 
their  fingers  in  ac- 
knowledgment of 
our  patriarchal 
''Dens  tc  abe7icoe  f 
As  we  walk  away, 
they  Avatch  us  with 
quick,  curious  eyes, 
but  say  never  a 

And  now  we  shall 
learn  how  it  is  pos- 
sible for  men  and  women  to  live  almost  separated  from  the 
civilized  world  ;  how  a  single  family  can  provide  themselves, 
not  only  with  food,  but  with  house,  furniture,  utensils — every- 
thing, in  fact,  but  clothing  and  a  few  coarse  articles  of  iron 
and  steel. 

Wherever  we  go,  we  will  meet  with  nothing  but  kindness 
and  unostentatious  politeness.     For  instance,  walking  across 

The   Spring. 


the  weedy  plot  in  front  of  our  windows,  we  can  call  on  old 
Joao  Baptista,  the  best  hunter  and  the  best  fisherman  in  the 
village.  Joao  rises  to  meet  us,  offering  his  hand  (everybody 
shakes  hands  here,  even  more  than  in  the  States),  and  in- 
viting us  to  a  seat  on  the  rough  wooden  bench  by  the  door. 
He  is  a  little,  wiry,  wrinkled  fellow,  his  face  rather  pleasant, 
though  badly  pitted  with  small-pox  ;  the  high  cheek-bones 
and  broad,  but  not  flattened,  nose,  are  typical  of  the  race  ; 
the  mouth  is  a  good  one  ;  the  lips  not  too  thick  ;  the  eyes 
bright  and  pleasant ;  the  hair  coarse,  straight,  and  black  as  a 
raven's  wing,  albeit  the  man  has  passed  his  threescore  years. 
Perhaps  the  Amazonian  Indians  may  be  best  described  by 
comparing  them  to  Chinese.  Indeed,  the  resemblance  is  so 
strong  that  the  stray  Chinamen  who  are  sometimes  seen  in 
the  river  towns  are  commonly  taken  for  Indians.  The  Ama- 
zonian race  is  characterized  by  a  richer  color — not  the  sallow 
hue  of  the  Chinese  Tartars,  nor  yet  the  coppery  tint  of  the 
North  American  type,  but  a  clear  olive-brown,  a  kind  of 
intensified  brimct,  Joao  Baptista  is  dressed  in  coarse  can- 
vas trousers  and  short  jacket  or  shirt ;  the  cloth  is  stained 
dull-red  with  innruchy.^  It  is  soiled,  for  this  is  his  work-day 
dress ;  but  you  may  be  sure  that  it  covers  a  clean  body. 
The  old  man  is  busily  shaping  a  paddle,  using  his  clumsy 
knife  very  cleverly  on  the  hard  itatiba  wood.  He  converses 
quietly,  answering  our  questions,  and  asking  a  few  in  return  ; 
but  he  is  not  talkative. 

The  women  of  the  house  remain  at  a  distance,  unless  they 
are  spoken  to ;  the  code  of  social  life  here  does  not  permit 
them  to  intrude  their  presence  on  male  visitors.  If  the  lady 
of  the  party  is  with  us,  they  sit  by  her  side,  curiously  exam- 

*A  tincture  from  the  bark  of  a  forest  tree  (Byrsonima,  sp.  ?) 

376  BRAZIL, 

iniiig  her  clothing,  and  asking  simple  questions  about  her 
country — the  far-away,  wonderful  land,  which,  like  Rome  and 
paradise  and  heaven,  exists  to  them  only  in  name.  The  lit- 
tle ones,  after  the  universal  child-greeting  of  extending  their 
palms  for  a  blessing,  stand  watching  us  silently. 

Examine  the  structure  of  the  house.  Roughly  hewn  logs 
oiitauba  and  pdo  d'arco  for  the  uprights;  set  in  the  ground, 
they  will  last  for  fifty  years.  Beams  and  rafters  are  of  other 
hardly  less  durable  timbers  ;  the  joints  are  secured  with  pegs 
or  with  strips  of  bark.  Roof  and  sides  are  covered  with  ex- 
cellent palm-leaf  thatch,  tied  on  in  regular  layers,  like  shin- 
gles. As  for  floor,  there  is  Mother  Earth,  with  a  few  mats 
laid  down  under  the  hammocks.  There  are  no  windows,  and 
the  door-ways  are  closed  with  palm-leaf  mats.  So  you  see 
that  the  whole  house  is  formed  of  materials  which  every  In- 
dian can  gather  in  the  forest,  with  no  other  tools  than  his 
heavy  wood-knife  and  clumsy,  straight-handled  ax.  Some 
houses  have  the  sides  built  up  with  lumps  of  clay  gathered 
from  the  lowland  creeks  ;  walls  of  this  material,  supported 
by  a  framework  of  poles  and  sticks,  are  durable,  but  very 
unsightly.  In  the  larger  places  they  cover  the  adobe  with 
plaster,  and  whitewash  the  outside  very  neatly. 

The  dwelling  does  not  boast  of  much  furniture.  Besides 
the  reed  mats  and  cotton  hammocks,  there  are  only  two  or 
three  benches  (the  boards  of  which  have  been  hewn  out  of 
solid  logs),  and  some  green  wooden  trunks,  with  prepos- 
terous keys.  These  latter  contain  the  festa  dresses ;  the 
coarser,  work-day  garments  hang  on  lines  behind  the  ham- 
mocks. The  trunks  are  rather  articles  of  luxury  than  of 
necessity  ;  in  other  houses  we  will  see  great  balaio  baskets 
taking  their  place  ;  but  every  well-to-do  Indian  considers  it 
incumbent  on  him  to  have  a  trunk,  if  he  can  get  it  for  money 


or  credit.  The  last  items  of  furniture  are  two  low  stools, 
which  attract  our  attention  by  their  singularity.  One  is  made 
of  the  dry,  hard  skin  of  an  alligator's  breast,  curved  inward 
so  that  the  scaled  surface  forms  the  seat  and  the  incurled 
edges  the  feet ;  the  other  is  the  shell  of  a  large  terrapin,  com- 
mon in  the  neighboring  woods.  Under  the  roof  there  is  a 
geral,  or  staging  of  poles,  for  mandioca-baskets,  dried  fish, 
and  various  pots  and  kettles.  The  most  of  these,  however, 
are  in  the  little  shed-like  kitchen  back  of  the  house.  Every 
Indian  dwelling,  no  matter  how  poor,  has  its  kitchen  sepa- 
rated from  the  main  structure.  The  primitive  fireplace  is 
formed  of  three  large  stones  ;  for  bellows,  there  is  a  little 
mat-fan,  or,  very  likely,  the  pufifing  lungs  of  the  brown  cook. 
Among  the  articles  oi  cuisine,  we  may  observe  an  iron  kettle, 
or  a  tin  coffee-pot ;  but  these  are  by  no  means  necessities  ; 
most  of  the  older  women  can  manufacture  their  own  cooking- 
ware  of  coarse  clay. 

Joao's  wife  is  willing  enough  to  show  us  how  the  earthen 
kettles  and  jugs  are  made  ;  indeed,  she  was  preparing  for  her 
potter's  work  when  we  came  in  ;  the  dried  balls  of  clay  have 
been  soaked  in  water  overnight,  and  are  now  ready  to  be 
kneaded.  A  quantity  of  ash  from  the  bark  of  the  caraip^ 
tree*  is  beaten  In  a  huge  wooden  mortar,  and  added  to  the 
clay  in  an  earthen  pan.  The  woman  carefully  kneads  the 
two  ingredients  together,  picking  out  any  small  lumps  and 
sticks  that  she  finds,  until  she  has  a  mass  of  good,  stiff  clay, 
dark  in  color,  and  very  cohesive.  Now  she  sits  down  on  a 
mat,  with  material  and  tools  before  her.  These  latter  are  : 
I,  spoon-shaped  pieces  of  calabash;  2,  the  sharp  operculum 
of  a  large  river-snail  {Ampullaria) ;  3,  a  corn-cob  ;  4,  a  round 

*  Leguminosas  ? 

378  BRAZIL. 


pebble  ;  5,  the  long  canine  tooth  of  a  jaguar;  6,  several  red 
fungi,  leathery  species,  full  of  little  pores  on  the  under  side, 
which  serves  like  sand-paper  for  smoothing.  Besides  these, 
there  is  a  calabash  of  water,  and  a  square  of  board,  her 
primitive  potter's  wheel.  A  lump  of  clay  is  carefully  kneaded 
with  the  hands  and  pressed  out  flat  on  the  board,  the  edges 
being  rounded  off  with  the  fingers  and  the  shell  scraper.  By 
turning  the  board  before  her  she  obtains  nearly  a  true  circle 
of  clay  ;  this  is  the  bottom  of  the  pot.  Next,  she  forms  long 
ropes  of  clay  by  rolling  it  on  a  board,  very  much  as  an 
apothecary  rolls  his  cake  for  pills.  The  ropes  are  laid  one 
over  another,  from  the  edge  of  the  circle  already  formed,  so 
as  to  build  up  the  sides  ;  each  layer  must  be  carefully  pressed 
with  the  fingers  upon  the  one  below  it,  and  at  intervals  the 
sides  are  shaped  with  the  calabash  spoons,  scraped  with  the 
shells,  and  smoothed  with  the  corn-cob  rasp  and  the  fungus 
sand-paper,  previously  wetted.  When  the  lower  part  of  the 
pot  is  made,  it  must  be  set  in  the  sun  to  harden,  so  that  it 
will  support  the  upper  layers.  Finally,  the  edge  is  turned 
over  and  finished  outside  with  a  thin  roll,  marked  with  the 
jaguar's  tooth,  as  a  New  England  housewife  marks  the  edge 
of  her  pie-crust  with  a  key.  If  we  come  again  to-morrow, 
we  can  see  how  the  baking  is  done  over  a  hot  fire  o{  jittaJiy 
bark ;  *  the  pot  is  then  polished  with  the  pebble,  and  var- 
nished, while  still  hot,  \v\\h.  jiitaJiy-scca\  resin. ;{: 

There  are  calabashes,  and   turtle-shell   pans,   and   gourd 
bottles,  and  wooden  spoons.;  baskets,  small  and  large ;  clay 

*Hymencea  mirabilis,  or  some  allied  species. 

+  Corruption  oijutahy-icica^  Tupi,  gum  of  the  jutahy  tree. 

X  The  method  of  making  pottery  on  the  Amazons  was  first  described  fully  by 
Prof.  C.  F.  Hartt,  in  a  pamphlet  published  in  Rio  de  Janeiro,  entitled:  "Notes  on 
the  Manufacture  of  Pottery  among  Savage  Races."  A  whole  volume  is  condensed 
in  this  little  work. 



lamps  for  burning  fish-oil,  and  so  forth.  Joao's  wife  has  a 
few  coarse  plates  and  bowls,  with  knives,  forks,  and  spoons, 
which  she  has  purchased  in  Monte  Alegre  ;  very  often  the 
plates  are  replaced  by  native  earthenware,  and  the  bowls  by 

Indian  Woman  making  Pottery. 

calabashes,  and  it  is  no  unusual  experience  for  a  traveller  to 
be  reduced  to  the  Indian  eating-implements — the  fingers. 

The  standard  article  of  food  among  all  the  poorer  classes 
of  tropical  America  is  the  manioc  or  mandioca  plant ;  wheaten 
bread  is  not  more  necessary  to  an  American,  or  potatoes  to 
an  Irish  peasant,  or  sago  to  a  Malayan.  Every  Indian  has 
his  little  plantation,  and  the  women  are  occupied  much  of 
the  time  in  preparing /^r/;?//^?.*  At  Erere,  the  ground  is  too 
stony  for  cultivation  ;  the  poor  folk  plant  their  ro^as  two  or 
three  miles  away,  in  the  woods,  and  to  visit  them  we  find  it 
better  to  start  early  in  the  morning,  while  the  air  is  yet  cool, 
and  the  dew  silvers  every  leaf.     The  trail  leads  through  a  low 

*This  must  not  be  confounded  with  our  farina,  which,  I  believe,  is  a  preparation 
from  corn. 

38o  BRAZIL. 

forest,  almost  entirely  composed  of  palms  ;  there  is  a  thick 
undergrowth  of  the  stemless  curitd*  from  which  the  Indians 
obtain  their  roofing-thatch  ;  taller  tirucurys  t  arch  over  the 
pathway ;  and  occasionally,  in  wet  places,  there  is  a  slender 
assai.X  or  a  giant,  fan-leaved  iniriti,%  or  a  pretty  little  viara- 
jd-i,  II  with  the  stem  no  bigger  than  one's  finger.  There  are 
vistas  of  indescribable  beauty  under  the  roof  of  swaying, 
nodding,  trembling  leaflets,  where  the  sunlight  is  shivered 
into  a  thousand  fragments,  and  each  fragment  is  in  constant, 
restless  motion ;  where  the  pretty  brown  birds  play  hide-and- 
seek  in  the  foliage,  and  brilliant  gnats  and  dragon-flies  chase 
the  flitting  patches  of  light.  But  by  and  by  we  leave  the 
forest  and  come  out  to  a  mandioca-field. 

Indian  farming  is  of  the  rudest  character.  The  plantation 
is  simply  an  irregular  clearing  in  the  woods,  with  half-burned 
logs  scattered  all  over  the  surface,  so  that  it  is  difficult  for  us 
to  make  our  way  across  ;  more  than  one  of  the  party  comes 
to  grief  over  a  hidden  vine  or  branch.  The  ground  has  not 
been  turned  at  all  ;  as  for  plows,  the  Amazonian  farmers 
never  heard  of  them  until  they  were  introduced  by  Ameri- 
cans a  few  years  ago.  The  mandioca-cuttings  are  simply 
placed,  several  together,  in  holes  dug  in  the  unprepared 
ground,  and  they  get  hardly  any  care.  As  a  matter  of 
course,  the  top-crust,  baking  in  the  sun  and  drained  by  the 
strong-growing  plants,  is  soon  exhausted  ;  every  four  or  five 
years  the  old  clearings  are  abandoned,  and  new  ones  are 
made,  involving  fresh  destruction  of  the  forest,  and  great  out- 
lay of  labor. 

The  mandioca  that  we  see    now  is   full  grown  ;    a   half- 

*  An  Attalea,  allied  to  A.  spectabilis.  \  Attalea  excelsa. 

X  Euterpe  edulis.  §  Mauritia  flexuosa. 

\  Bactris,  sp. 


woody,  straggling  shrub,  five  or  six  feet  high,  with  knotted 
branches  and  thinly-set,  bluish-green,  palmate  leaves,— a 
singular  rather  than  a  handsome  foliage  ;  yet  the  plantation 
is  not  without  a  beauty  of  its  own,  heightened,  perhaps,  by 
the  smoky-bluish  tint,  and  the  chaotic  confusion  of  plants, 
logs,  and  intruding  bushes. 

The  roots  from  which  farinha  is  extracted  are  like  a 
dahlia-root  in  shape,  but  much  larger.  When  first  taken 
from  the  ground  they  are  full  of  a  poisonous  juice,  and,  of 
course,  unfit  for  food.  The  process  of  manufacture,  then, 
must  secure  two  ends  :  first,  the  extraction  of  this  juice,  and, 
second,  the  separation  of  the  nutritive  principles  in  a  form 
that  can  be  preserved. 

Down  in  a  hollow  of  the  field  there  are  some  pools  of 
stagnant  v/ater  ;  the  unsavory  odor  Avhich  proceeds  from  one 
of  these  is  caused  by  a  mass  of  fermenting  mandioca-roots, 
which  have  lain  here  probably  two  days.  This  part  of  the 
process  is  not  a  pleasant  one,  and  the  girl  who  comes  down 
to  fill  her  knapsack-basket  from  the  reeking  mass  in  the  pool, 
excites  a  great  deal  of  groundless  commiseration  ;  she  only 
laughs  to  see  our  wry  faces,  and  walks  up  the  pathway  with 
her  sixty  pounds  of  fermented  roots,  as  blithely  as  she  would 
with  a  basket  of  fragrant  oranges.  We  follow,  at  a  distance, 
to  the  little  open  shed  where  farinha  is  prepared.  Half  a 
dozen  women  and  boys  are  cleaning  the  mandioca  as  it  is 
brought  in  ;  the  tough  outer  skin  is  easily  separated  from 
the  softened  inner  mass,  and  the  roots  are  piled  in  a  great 
wooden  trough,  the  half  of  a  hollowed  itaiiba  log  ;  here  they 
are  grated  on  a  board  covered  with  sheet  copper  full  of  nail- 
holes.  Francisca  in  h^t  fcsta  dress  may  be  pretty  ;  but  as 
she  stoops  over  the  grater  with  a  root  in  each  hand,  she 
affords  a  too-powerful  reminder  of  that  detestable  northern 



machine — the  scrubbing-board.  Her  bare  arms  and  black 
dress  are  spattered  with  the  whey-Hke  juice;  her  rebellious 
hair  is  just  falling  away  from  the  confining  comb  ;  her  brown 

face,  glowing  with  perspiration, 
gives  the  lie  to  our  ideas  of  In- 
dian laziness.  Meanwhile,  Miss 
Lizia  is  rubbing  the  grated  mass 
through  a  basket-work  sieve,  to 
remove  the  larger  fragments  of 
woody  fibre  ;  then  the  mandi- 
oca  is  ready  for  the  next  stage 
— straining  in  the  tipiti.      This 

is     a     long, 

narrow  bag, 
or  rather 
pipe,  woven 
from  strips 
of  palm- 
fibre  ;  the 
strips  run  di- 
a  g  o  n  a  1  ly 
around  the 
bag,  so  that 

Straining  the  Mandioca.  the    CaoacitV 

can  be  increased  by  simply  forcing  the  ends  together,  caus- 
ing the  elastic  sides  to  bulge  out ;  in  this  shortened  condition 
it  is  filled.  Now,  if  it  is  hung  up  and  drawn  out  forcibly,  the 
mass  within  will  be  compressed  and  the  juice  will  run  out 
through  the  interstices  ;  in  the  same  manner  a  farmer's  wife 
strains  whey  from  a  cloth  bag.  To  increase  the  pressure,  a 
lever  is  passed  through  a  loop  in  the  lower  end  of  the  tipiti ; 
a  heavy  stone  may  be  attached  to  the  lever,  but  our  brown 



operator  finds  it  more  convenient  to  sit  on  the  end  of  the 
pole  ;  the  juice  streams  out  and  flows  into  a  pan  below.* 

A  small  portion  of  the  poison  still  remains,  but  it  is  very 
volatile,  and  will  be  removed  by  the  roasting  process.  The 
fitriio  on  which  this  is  done  is  a  thick  earthen  pan,  six  feet  in 
diameter,  supported  by  a  circle  of  abobe  wall,  with  an  open- 
ing on  one  side,  so  as  to  form  a  tire-place.      Francisca  has 

Roasting  Farmha. 

already  kindled  a  fire  of  brushwood  under  the  furno.  The 
lumpy  mandioca  from  the  tipiti  is  broken  up  on  the  pan.  and 
roasted  with  constant  stirring  ;  gradually  the  vile  odor  of  the 
volatile  juice  disappears,  leaving  a  fragrance  like  that  of 
roasting  corn  ;  as  the  farinha  dries  it  is  spooned  out  into 
pots  and  baskets.       The  warm  grains  taste  like  the  parched 

*  The  starch  which  settles  from  this  juice  is  the  tapioca  of  commerce.  The 
juice,  boiled  or  fermented  in  the  sun  to  extract  the  poison,  and  seasoned  with 
red  peppers,  forms  an  excellent  sauce  for  fish,  the  so-called  tuciipi. 

384  BRAZIL. 

sweet  corn  that  we  used  to  prepare  in  the  country.  But  the 
farinha  will  soon  lose  this  brisk  flavor,  and  become  insipid  ; 
one's  teeth,  too,  rebel  against  the  hard  grains.  It  does  not 
appear,  however,  that  the  old  farinha  is  positively  unwhole- 
some, and  it  is  eaten  by  the  poorer  classes  throughout  Brazil ; 
often  it  is  stored  in  baskets  for  a  year. 

There  are  many  other  preparations  of  mandioca ;  as,  for 
\w'$,\2SiQ,Q.,  farinha  seca^  obtained  from  the  unfermented  root, 
and  the  fine  white  carimci,  farinha  and  tapioca  together. 
And  as,  in  other  countries,  corn,  potatoes,  sago,  etc.,  have 
been  made  to  yield  alcoholic  drinks,  so  these  Indians  make 
from  the  mandioca  a  beer-like  liquor,  which  they  often  use 
in  immense  quantities.  From  this  teriibd  a  very  strong  and 
crazing  rum  [cauiii*)  is  sometimes  obtained  by  distillation ; 
but,  fortunately  for  the  race,  this  is  not  often  seen. 

We  wait  in  the  shed  only  long  enough  to  see  the  farinha 
packed  away  in  baskets  lined  with  broad,  tough  leaves. 
Within  a  few  minutes  the  Indians  weave  these  open  pa7ieiro 
baskets,  using,  for  material,  strips  of  the  tough  coating  which 
covers  the  leaf-stalks  of  iniriti  and  carand  palms.  Our  fa- 
rinha-makers  will  not  let  us  leave  without  a  present ;  so  each 
of  us  carries  away  a  great  stalk  of  sugar-cane  (the  Indians 
plant  a  little  in  their  rocas)^  and  half  a  dozen  bijtl  cakes  — 
another  mandioca  preparation. f 

*  As  Mr.  Burton  suggests,  this  word  may  be  derived  from  caji'i,  or  cayfi,  the 
name  of  a  fruit,  Anacardium  occidentale  (corrupted,  in  Enghsh,  to  cashew). 
From  this  fruit  the  Indians  obtain  a  kind  of  wine,  cayu-yg,  cashew-water.  The 
name  may  subsequently  have  been  applied  to  all  fermented  drinks,  and  changed, 
in  course  of  time,  to  its  present  form. 

+  The  process  of  preparing  mandioca,  here  described,  does  not  differ  essentially 
from  the  aboriginal  method,  which  was  in  use  from  Paraguay  to  Florida.  It  is  cu- 
rious to  note  that  the  Carib  names  for  mandioca  and  its  products,  and  for  the  uten- 
sils used  in  preparing  it,  hardly  differ  from  the  Tupi  and  Guarany. 


These  Erere  women  are  examples  of  industry.  From  our 
window  we  can  hear,  in  the  neighboring  houses,  a  monoto- 
nous rat-tat-tat,  as  of  some  one  beating  on  a  muffled  drum  ; 
sometimes  it  comes  from  three  or  four  houses  at  once  ;  we 
hear  it  at  all  hours  of  the  day.  As  we  are  welcome  every- 
where, we  can  follow  the  sound  that  comes  through  one  of 
the  low  door-ways.  Seated  on  a  mat,  pretty  Maroca  is  oc- 
cupied in  beating  a  pile  of  cotton  into  long  fleeces  as  light  as 
thistle-blows.  She  looks  up  with  a  smile,  but  does  not  stop 
her  work.  The  cotton  is  laid  across  a  large  cushion  ;  the 
drumming  noise  that  we  heard  was  the  tap  of  her  caranci 
beating-wands  on  this  cushion.  She  handles  the  airy  mass 
deftly  with  her  wands,  forming  it,  as  it  is  beaten,  into  a 
many-folded  pile  by  her  side.  When  the  pile  is  large 
enough,  it  must  be  passed  again  across  the  cushion,  and 
so  on  until  it  has  been  beaten  five  times  ;  then  it  is  ready 
to  be  spun  into  cord. 

The  aboriginal,  and  commoner,  method  of  cord-making 
is  with  a  spindle  ;  the  fleecy  cotton  is  first  slightly  twisted 
with  the  fingers,  and  then  spun  by  rolling  the  spindle  be- 
tween the  hands.  But  at  Erere  a  simple  spinning-wheel 
has  been  introduced,  a  noisy  little  affair,  the  clatter  of  which 
may  often  be  heard  as  the  old  women  sit  by  their  open  doors 
making  hammock-thread.  Homespun  clothing  is  no  longer 
in  vogue ;  even  the  Indians  find  it  cheaper  to  purchase 
American  and  French  cloths  of  the  traders.  However,  Jo- 
sepha  will  show  us  how  the  cotton  is  woven  into  coarse,  ser- 
viceable hammocks.  She  has  dyed  some  of  the  threads  pale 
blue  and  yellow ;  these  are  the  woof,  which,  with  the  warp 
of  white,  will  form  a  simple  check  pattern.  She  is  seated 
now,  tailor-fashion,  before  the  simple  loom — or  rather  frame, 
for  it  is  nothing  more  ;  every  thread  of  the  woof  must  be 



passed  through  the  warp  by  hand — a  task  which  might  ap- 
pear formidable,  even  to  our  fancy-work  maniacs  at  home. 
But  Josepha  sits  all  day  with  her  pretty,  modest  eyes  fixed 
on  her  work,  and   her  hands — brown,  but  not  unshapely— 


cleverly  tucking  the  thread-bobbins  through  the  warp.  At 
the  end  of  a  month  she  will  have  a  hammock  as  serviceable 
as  any  she  could  buy  in  the  shops,  and  but  for  the  miserable 
short-staple  cotton  cultivated  here,  the  product  would  be 
much  more  valuable. 

I  tell  you  I  have  a  real  respect  for  Josepha,  a  good 
wife  and  a  good  mother,  keeping  faithfully  to  her  round 
of  womanly  duty  as  she  understands  it.  It  is  true  that  she 
knows  nothing  of  theology,  but  she  is  devout  in  her  way, 
and  holds  the  saints  in  reverence.  It  is  true  that  her  single 
iron  kettle  is  scrubbed  only  on  the  inside,  and  there  is  a  sit- 


ting  hen  in  the  corner  of  her  parlor  bedroom,  and  the  tame 
pig  is  allowed  to  run  about  the  house  at  its  own  sweet  will ; 
but  the  bright-looking  children  are  as  clean  as  water  will 
make  them,  and  their  clothes  are  well  patched  ;  the  earthen 
floor  is  carefully  swept,  and  the  space  around  the  house  is 
kept  free  from  weeds  and  bushes.  Probably  she  is  not  le- 
gally bound  to  her  partner,  for  marriage  among  the  younger 
Indians  is  not  common,  partly  because  it  is  considered  un- 
necessary ;  principally,  I  think,  owing  to  the  expense,  ten  or 
fifteen  dollars  being  a  heavy  burden  to  these  improvident 
people.  But  Josepha's  man  is  a  steady,  hard-working  fel- 
low, and  very  fond  of  her  and  the  children,  so  it  is  not  likely 
that  they  will  ever  be  separated.  The  wonder  is  that  these 
half-civilized  people  have  come  so  near  the  high  ideal  of  mar- 
riage. Their  code  of  morality  is  certainly  superior  to  that 
which  holds  among  other  classes  on  the  Amazons.  It  is 
true  that  the  younger  women  are  inclined  to  be  flighty,  and 
you  may  see  them  with  children  which  "  have  no  father,"  so 
they  say  ;  but  later  in  life  they  grow  steady,  and  are  very 
faithful  to  their  legal  or  de  facto  husbands. 

Child-life  here  is  an  exceedingly  curious  study  ;  the  little 
quiet  creatures  are  so  different  from  our  romping  American 
boys  and  girls.  They  get  few  caresses  and  give  none  ; 
mother-love  is  mechanical ;  there  is  nothing  of  that  overflow 
of  tenderness,  that  constant  watchful  care,  that  sheds  such 
a  halo  around  our  homes.  The  babies  vesfetate  in  their 
steady  brown  fashion,  seldom  crying  or  laughing,  but  lying 
all  day  in  their  hammock-cradles  and  watching  everything 
around  them  with  keen  eyes.  As  soon  as  the  little  boys  and 
girls  can  toddle  about  they  are  left  pretty  much  to  their  own 
resources,  tumbling  up  the  back  stairs  of  life  on  a  diet  of 
mandioca-meal  and  fish.     The  parents  seldom  punish  their 

388  BRAZIL. 

children,  for  they  are  very  docile  ;  when  they  do,  the  little 
ones  pucker  up  their  mouths  and  look  sullen,  but  do  not  cry. 
Pleasure  is  expressed  by  a  smile — among  the  little  girls  very 
often  by  a  broad  grin,  with  abundant  show  of  teeth ;  but  an 
articulate  laugh  is  a  rarity. 

It  is  interesting  to  watch  how  the  mental  traits  of  the 
race  appear  even  in  the  young  babies.  If  a  plaything  is 
given  them,  they  examine  it  gravely  for  a  little  while,  and 
then  let  it  drop.  Observe  how  different  this  is  from  a  white 
baby's  actions.  A  bright  little  six-months-old  at  home  has 
four  distinct  methods  of  investigation  :  first,  by  looking;  sec- 
ond, by  touching  ;  then  by  putting  the  object  in  its  mouth  ; 
and  finally,  by  banging  it  against  the  floor.  The  brown  me- 
nino  just  looks  ;  does  not  investigate  at  all.  As  the  children 
grow  older,  the  same  trait  is  apparent  in  almost  every  case. 
An  Indian  is  content  to  see  or  hear  a  thing,  without  troub- 
ling himself  about  the  whys  and  wherefores ;  even  such  in- 
comprehensible pursuits  as  fossil -collecting,  or  butterfly- 
catching,  or  sketching,  provoke  hardly  any  curiosity.  The 
people  look  on  quietly,  sometimes  asking  a  question  or  two, 
but  soon  dismissing  the  subject  from  their  minds  as  some- 
thing they  are  incapable  of  understanding.  With  all  the 
crowding  to  see  the  lady  of  our  party,  hardly  a  person  asked 
why  she  came.  So,  too,  the  babies  are  unambitious  ;  they 
do  not  cry  after  pretty  colors,  or  stretch  out  their  hands  to 
a  candle.  And  the  men  have  no  apparent  desire  to  better 
their  lot.  They  go  on  just  as  their  fathers  did  ;  submit  to 
the  impositions  of  the  whites,  a  little  sullenly,  but  without 
a  thought  of  rebellion,  unless  there  is  a  white  or  a  half-breed 
to  lead  them.  The  children  do  not  care  much  for  play- 
things ;  we  rarely  see  one  with  a  rag  doll ;  the  little  boys 
delight  in  bows  and  arrows,  but  they  take  them  as  a  part 



of  their  training.  Sometimes  the  children  have  dances,  in 
imitation  of  the  festa  sports  ;  and  we  hear  them  humming 
the  waltzes  and  quadrilles  which  their  quick  ears  have  caught 
from  the  musicians.  As  an  Indian  will  paddle  steadily  all 
day,  while  his  wife  at  home  hardly  ceases  her  monotonous 

Indian  Wonnan   beating  Cotton. 

cotton-beating,  so  the  little  ones  have  an  inexhaustible  gift 
of  patience.  Where  a  white  child  would  fret  and  cry,  the 
brown  one  sits  all  day,  perfectly  still,  but  watching  every- 
thing around  him.  To  see  a  little  Indian  boy  in  a  canoe, 
you  would  say  that  nothing  of  him  was  alive  but  his  eyes. 

Most  of  the  boys  get  a  little  schooling,  after  the  prev- 
alent fashion  here :  i.  e, ,  about  an  equal  amount  of  dry 
text-book*  and  smarting  ferule.      However,  they  are  bright 

*  No  wonder  that  the  Amazonian  boys  have  so  poor  an  idea  of  geography ;  in 
all  their  school-books  there  is  not  a  single  map. 

390  BRAZIL. 

students,  and  soon  learn  to  read  and  write  the  easy  Por- 
tuguese language.  Sometimes  the  children  are  taken  into 
white  families,  where  they  do  very  well  at  first ;  but  as  they 
grow  older  they  become  impatient  of  restraint,  and  dream 
moodily  of  their  native  wilds.  So  it  generally  happens  that 
the  boys  embark  in  a  trading  or  fishing  canoe,  and  the  girls 
elope  with  some  admirer  to  parts  unknown.  The  Brazilians 
complain  loudly  of  this  ingratitude.  "After  having  had  all 
the  care  and  trouble  of  bringing  up  the  children,"  they  say, 
**  we  are  deserted  just  when  their  services  become  valuable." 
It  must  be  confessed  that  there  is  much  reason  for  this  com- 
plaint ;  but  I  think  that  the  unfaithfulness  of  their  wards  is  to 
be  attributed  less  to  any  positive  badness  of  character,  than 
to  the  childishness  which  remembers  only  the  present,  and 
forgets  a  past  kindness.  This  childishness  is  shown,  also,  in 
the  ease  with  which  the  Indians  bear  the  loss  of  friends  and 
relatives.  I  remember  a  striking  instance.  I  had  been  liv- 
ing for  some  time  in  an  Indian  house ;  it  was  of  the  better 
class,  and  occupied  by  a  steady-going  young  man  and  his 
family.  One  of  the  women  had  a  sickly  baby,  not  more 
than  three  months  old.  The  tiny  thing  required  much  care, 
and  the  mother  paid  more  attention  to  it  than  a  healthier 
child  would  have  received.  She  never  left  it  long ;  if  at 
work  in  the  field  she  would  come  to  the  house  every  hour  or 
two,  to  take  it  from  its  girl-cousin,  though  the  latter,  for  an 
eight-year-old,  was  an  excellent  nurse.  One  morning  the 
baby  sickened,  and  lay  moaning  weakly  for  a  few  hours, 
until  it  died.  There  were  no  religious  rites,  except  that,  as 
the  custom  is,  the  child  had  been  baptized  just  before  its 
death.  The  mother  laid  the  little  body  on  a  mat,  and  folded 
the  thin  fingers  together,  with  a  white  flower  or  two  ;  it  was 
all  she  could  do,  for  they  were  too  poor  to  aftbrd  a  funeral. 


But  she  sat  looking  at  it,  with  the  tears — she  vainly  tried  to 
conceal  them — rolling  down  her  brown  cheeks  and  falling  on 
the  little  upturned  face.  Presently  she  turned  away,  and  the 
men  took  the  body  out  and  buried  it  in  the  deep  forest. 
That  night  there  was  an  Indian  ball  near  by,  and  I  saw  this 
mother,  so  lately  bereaved,  taking  part,  all  smiles,  in  the 
merriment.  I  confess,  I  was  shocked  at  first ;  but  then  her 
grief  in  the  morning  was  unfeigned,  and  there  can  be  no 
doubt  that  she  would  have  stayed  away  from  the  dance  for  a 
living  child,  though  she  did  not  for  the  dead  one.  It  was 
simply  the  half-savage,  childish  nature — to  grieve  only  at  the 
moment  of  a  loss,  and  then  forget  all  about  it. 

The  Indians  may  be  unfaithful  to  their  white  masters,  but 
in  their  own  circles  they  always  retain  a  reverential  love  for 
their  parents,  and,  as  they  grow  older,  take  them  under  their 
care.  At  Erere  we  often  notice  the  beautiful  respect  which 
age  inspires.  Many  a  touching  picture  one  sees  :  a  gray- 
haired  patriarch,  sitting  before  his  door  in  the  crimson 
sunset,  and  gravely  giving  his  hand  to  be  kissed  by  sons 
and  daughters  who  come  to  honor  him  ;  village  children 
stretching  out  their  palms  for  blessings  from  a  passing 
old  man  ;  young  Indians  bringing  offerings  of  fish  and  fruit 
to  decrepit  old  women,  who  have  been  left  destitute,  and 
are  obliged  to  subsist  on  the  willing  charity  of  their  neigh- 

On  moonlit  evenings  the  old  people  sit  before  their  doors 
until  near  midnight,  while  the  younger  ones  stroll  around 
from  house  to  house,  gossiping  with  their  neighbors,  and 
carrying  on  sly  flirtations  under  the  orange-trees.  Our  own 
house  is  quite  a  centre  of  attraction  ;  the  women  come,  three 
or  four  together,  to  pay  their  respects  to  the  braiica  and 
bring  her  presents  of  fruit,   sugar-cane,  a  little  fresh  meat. 

392  BRAZIL. 

and  so  on  ;  they  are  well  satisfied  when  they  get  a  few  soda- 
crackers  in  exchange. 

One  evening,  C.  and  I  are  seated  before  the  door,  watch- 
ing a  partial  eclipse  of  the  moon  which  is  taking  place  ;  sud- 
denly a  drum-like  noise  comes  from  some  distant  house  ; 
immediately  a  gun  is  fired,  and  from  another  place  a  rocket 
goes  whizzing  over  the  trees.  Here  is  a  relic  of  the  aborigi- 
nal superstitions.  The  old  Tupis  supposed  that  the  life  of 
the  moon  was  like  that  of  a  man  ;  beginning  very  thin  and 
small,  he  eats  and  grows  until  he  is  full  and  round  ;  then 
comes  his  period  of  decrepitude,  he  is  weak  and  thin  : 

*'  His  youthful  hose,  well  saved,  a  world  too  wide 
For  his  shrunk  shank," 

until  he  dies,  and  gives  place  to  another  moon.  But  our 
friend,  Joao  Baptista,  says  the  moon  has  not  had  enough  to 
eat  to-day  ;  some  demon  has  stolen  his  farinha,  and  he  goes 
half-starved.  **  It  was  the  belief  of  the  ancients,"  says  Joao  ; 
**  people  nowadays  know  better."  But  nevertheless  they  are 
firing  guns  and  beating  on  wooden  mortars,  to  frighten  away 
the  evil  spirit.  It  may  be  for  some  other  purpose  ;  they  are 
not  sure  ;  they  only  know  that  their  fathers  succeeded  in 
getting  rid  of  the  eclipse  by  making  a  noise ;  there  is  the 
plain  fact  that  the  moon  became  full  again,  soon  after  the 
beating  began,  and  it  would  be  folly  to  neglect  an  observance 
so  efficacious.* 

I  think  that  the  Indians  keep  up  their  religious  observ- 
ances very  much  in  the  same  spirit.  They  have  no  definite 
theology  ;  their  religion  is  rather  a  vague  and  undefined  awe 

*  This  custom  of  making  a  noise  to  frighten  away  the  eclipse  is  found  among 
many  tribes  of  the  Tupi-Guarany  stock.  I  am  informed  that  it  is  also  met  with 
in  Turkey. 


of  a  higher  power,  which  they  all  acknowledge,  but  do  not 
seek  to  understand.  It  is  true  that  they  are  nominally  mem- 
bers of  the  Catholic  Church ;  but  they  show  very  little  in- 
terest in  the  ceremonies  ;  their  own  Christianity  is  confined 
to  a  few  simple  observances,  and  they  do  not  even  clearly 
understand  the  import  of  these. 

Each  year  there  is  a  grand  festival  in  honor  of  the  patron 
saint.  For  two  or  three  weeks  before,  the  little  chapel  is 
lighted  up  every  evening,  and  the  people  gather  to  a  kind  of 
singing  prayer-meeting  ;  the  women  kneeling  devoutly  on 
the  earthen  floor,  while  three  men,  before  the  little  shrine, 
lead  them  in  their  simple  chants.  All  the  villagers  know 
these  hymns  by  heart ;  they  have  very  sweet  and  clear, 
though  untrained  voices  ;  certainly  we  have  heard  worse 
singing  in  a  country  church  at  home.  And  what  if  the 
women  are  dressed  in  calico,  and  the  men  standing  around 
the  door  are  coatless  and  barefooted  ;  the  little  crowd  has 
the  true  spirit  of  devotion,  though  there  is  not  one,  perhaps, 
who  could  tell  you  whether  they  are  worshipping  the  wooden 
saint  in  the  shrine  or  a  spiritual  saint  in  the  sky.  The  men 
kneel  with  the  women  to  repeat  the  Lord's  Prayer  ;  then  all 
go  up  to  kiss  the  saint's  girdle  and  leave  their  contributions 
— a  {qw  coppers  to  purchase  sugar  and  rum  for  the  festa.^ 
After  that  they  adjourn  to  a  neighboring  house,  and  spend 
an  hour  or  two  in  dancing. 

The  grand  festival  begins  on  Saturday  evening.  During 
the  day,  parties  have  been  coming  in  from  all  directions, 
bringing  their  roupa  de  ver  a  Dens — **  clothes  to  see  God  in  " 
— on  their  heads.  Every  house  is  crowded  with  guests,  and 
many  swing  their  hammocks  to   the  trees  ;  the  old  women 

*  Que  voulez-vousf     Our  white  heathen  in  the  United   States  give  twenty-five 
cents  for  a  dish  of  strawberries,  and  call  it  charity. 



busy  themselves  in  preparing  sweetmeats  and  mandioca- 
beer ;  the  men  'build  an  arbor  of  boughs  before  the  chapel. 
Everybody  attends  the  final  prayer-meeting,  and  devoutly 
salutes  the  saint ;  then  the  dancing  begins,  in  several  houses 
at  once,  and  is  continued,  with  very  little  intermission,  until 
Tuesday  or  Wednesday,  as  the  refreshments  last.  Many  of 
the  young  people  get  only  five  or  six  hours  of  sleep  during 
this  time.  The  dancers  are  orderly,  and,  for  the  most  part, 
sober  ;  the  old  people  sit  around  and  watch  them,  and  grow 
talkative,  and  enjoy  themselves  quietly  ;  and  white  clerks 
from  town  move  about  with  a  pleasing  sense  of  their  own 


The   Sair§. 

glory.  On  Sunday  morning  there  is  an  'interlude,  during 
which  the  grand  breakfast  is  served.  An  ox  has  been  killed 
for  the  occasion,  and  the  guests  eat  as  much  as  they  please, 
with  their  fingers  for  forks.      Ceremonious    toasts    are  pro- 


posed  in  bad  Portuguese  and  drunk  in  bad  wine  ;  every- 
body says  ''  Viva  /  "  in  acknowledgment  of  everybody's  sen- 
timents, and  there  is  a  solemn  aping  of  all  that  is  ridicu- 
lous in  the  grand  dinners  of  the  brancos.  With  this,  the 
Indians  feel  that  they  have  done  their  duty,  and  return  to 
their  sports  with  fresh  unction. 

They  dance  rustic  waltzes  and  quadrilles,  not  ungrace- 
fully, to  the  music  of  a  violin  and  a  little  wire-stringed  guitar. 
Then  there  is  the  favorite  hmdil^  a  kind  of  slow  fandango, 
involving  much  snapping  of  fingers  and  shuffling  of  feet. 
The  saracura  *  dance  is  led  off  by  a  special  musician,  a  merry 
old  fellow,  who  marches  about  the  room  playing  a  tiny  reed 
flute  with  the  right  hand  and  beating  a  drum  with  the  left. 
One  after  another  the  couples  fall  in  behind  him,  tripping 
along  with  their  arms  about  each  other  very  lovingly,  and 
keeping  time  to  his  music  with  a  little  jingling  song,  which, 
in  English,  would  be  something  like  this  : 

"  I  swung  in  my  drowsy  hammock 
And  wooed  the  forest  boughs  ; 
But  they  answered  low :  '  There's  pain  and  woe 
In  the  lover's  foolish  vows.' 

Little  fish  in  the  deep,  dark  pool, 

Fickle  sand  of  the  sea. 
How  can  I  ever  love  you  alone. 

Since  you  will  not  alone  love  me  ? 

What  if  I  drift  away,  away. 

Alone  on  the  ocean  swell ; 
What  if  I  die  with  no  one  nigh 

Of  the  friends  who  love  me  well  ? 

*  Saracura,  name  of  a  bird,  Gallinula  Cayennensis. 

396  BRAZIL. 

Yet  I  have  the  sun  for  my  lover  true, 

The  moon  for  my  lady  bright, 
The  sun  to  walk  with  alone  all  day. 

The  moon  in  the  silent  night." 

Sometimes  the  dance  is  varied  with  figures,  forming  a 
circle,  advancing  to  the  centre,  retreating  to  the  ring  again, 
and  so  on.      It  is  simple,  but  very  pretty. 

On  Sunday  evening,  the  old  women  take  their  turn  with 
the  sairc,  a  ceremony  invented  or  adapted  by  the  early  Jesuit 
missionaries.  The  women  pass  from  house  to  house,  two  of 
them  in  front  carrying  an  arched  frame,  surmounted  by  a 
cross,  and  prettily  trimmed.  A  ribbon,  attached  to  the  cross, 
is  held  by  a  third  woman,  who  always  walks  behind.  Invited 
in,  the  performers  seat  themselves  on  a  mat,  and  are  served 
with  rum  and  sweetmeats,  in  respectful  silence.  Presently 
they  rise  and  begin  a  monotonous  chant,  keeping  time  to  the 
slow  beating  of  the  drum.  Now  they  take  three  steps  for- 
ward and  three  back,  the  two  in  front  waving  the  frame 
before  their  faces,  and  the  one  behind  following  their  move- 
ments and  holding  the  ribbon  above  her  head.  The  cere- 
mony goes  on  in  this  way  for  half  an  hour,  with  pauses  at 
intervals.  The  old  women  hold  themselves  with  a  sedateness 
befitting  their  important  office,  gathering  a  touch  of  weird- 
ness  from  the  flaring  oil-lamps  and  the  dark  faces  around. 
The  song — a  hymn  in  praise  of  the  Virgin — is  in  the  Indian 
language  (lingua  geral),  which  is  hardly  understood  now,  ex- 
cept by  the  old  people.* 

*The  Saire  song  varies  in  different  localities.  Two  of  the  verses,  commonly 
heard,  may  be  translated  as  follows  : 

"I.  In  a  stone  font  the  God-child  was  baptized. 

"  Chorus. — Jesus  and  Saint  Mary. 

"2.  Saint  Mary  is  a  beautiful  woman,  and  her  Son  is  as  beautiful  as  she  ;  in  the 
high  heavens  he  is  sitting  on  a  cross,  to  keep  guard  over  our  souls.       Chorus,  etc. 


These  women  have  their  heads  crammed  full  of  the  abo- 
riginal superstitions.  They  will  tell  hobgoblin  stories  by  the 
hour,  sitting  in  the  fire-light  and  hugging  their  knees  with 
shrivelled  arms  until  you  think  of  witches,  and  half  believe 
their  myths.  Sometimes,  in  our  wanderings  about  the  Serra 
and  the  plains,  our  guide  points  out  the  haunts  of  these 
spirits.  We  climb  to  the  Tititira  cave,  and  frighten  out  the 
bats,  and  imagine  big  snakes  in  the  crevices  around ;  but  the 
tititira  does  not  come  to  scare  us  with  horrid  noises  and 
strike  us  with  invisible  hands.  In  the  forest  we  hear  of  the 
curupira,  a  bald-headed  dwarf,  with  feet  turned  backward,  so 
that  those  who  see  his  tracks  and  try  to  avoid  him  will  only 
run  to  their  own  destruction  ;  he  entices  hunters  away  by 
imitating  the  call  of  a  imitum  or  a  partridge  ;  then,  when  they 
have  lost  themselves  in  the  thick  woods,  he  kills  them,  and 
tears  out  their  hearts  and  livers,  and  makes  an  unctuous 

But  time  passes,  and  we  must  leave  Erere  sleeping  in  the 
mellow  sunshine.  Farewell,  honest,  simple-hearted  people  ! 
Farewell,  nodding  palms,  and  shady  orange-groves,  and 
woodland  paths  !  The  sunshine  lies  yet  over  the  distant 
houses  and  tiny  white  chapel,  but  we  carry  away  a  little  of 
it  in  our  hearts — happy  memories  of  this  quiet  spot. 



IN  eastern  and  central  Brazil,  south  of  the  Amazonian  for- 
est, there  is  an  extensive  region  known  as  the  SertdOy'\ 
or  wilderness.  It  forms  a  broad  belt,  extending  from  the 
Parnahyba  river  to  the  Sao  Francisco.  The  northern  por- 
tion lies  close  to  the  coast,  but  from  Cape  St.  Roque  south- 
ward there  is  a  band  of  forest,  separating  the  interior  plain 
from  the  ocean.  Beyond  the  Rio  Sao  Francisco,  the  Sertao 
is  interrupted  by  the  Brazilian  coast-range,  but  behind  these 
mountains  it  is  prolonged  southward  into  the  province  of 
Minas  Geraes.  To  the  west,  its  limits  are  far  within  the 
province  of  Matto  Grosso. 

Without  attempting  to  describe  this  whole  region,  I  may 
confine  my  story  to  the  single  province  of  Ceara  ;  first,  be- 
cause I  know  more  about  it ;   second,  because  here  the  phy- 

*  The  present  chapter  is  a  mere  restiTtie  of  the  story  of  the  drought.  This  is  not 
the  time  to  write  its  full  history,  for  the  record  is  not  yet  closed.  Late  advices  from 
Ceara  leave  no  doubt  that  1879  is  also  a  dry  year.  What  the  end  vv'ill  be,  no  one 
can  say.  A  letter  from  the  author,  published  in  the  New  York  Herald  of  Feb.  14th, 
1879,  gives  many  particulars  which  are  not  noted  here. 

t  The  word  Sertao  is  often  applied  to  all  the  wilder  regions  of  Brazil,  but  it  is 
more  generally  used,  in  the  coast  provinces,  to  designate  the  dry  interior  region. 
In  Ceara  it  has  a  more  limited  meaning,  being  applied  to  the  low,  sandy  plains,  in 
contradistinction  to  the  table-lands,  or  serras. 


sical  characters  of  the  sertao  are  most  strongly  marked  ; 
third,  because  the  great  drought  of  iS/Z-'/S,  though  it  was 
felt  all  over  the  sertao,  seemed  to  have  its  black  nucleus  in 
this  portion  of  it. 

Ceara  is  not  at  all  like  the  Amazons  region  to  which  we 
have  been  accustomed.  Like  the  rest  of  the  sertao,  it  is  a 
high,  rolling  plain,  with  abrupt  elevations  here  and  there, 
isolated  hills  and  mountains  or  connected  chains.  These 
mountains,  instead  of  being  broken  up  into  peaks,  are  nearly 
flat  above  ;  they  are,  in  fact,  outlying  fragments  of  the  great 
central  table-land.  In  height,  they  vary  from  two  thousand 
to  five  thousand  feet. 

The  only  high  forest  of  Ceara  is  found  on  the  mountain- 
sides, and  even  there,  nothing  is  found  to  compare  with  the 
luxuriance  of  the  Amazonian  woods.  The  flat  hill-tops,  and 
the  plains  below,  show  either  a  thin  forest  growth,  like  a 
northern  wood,  or  open  country,  pastures  and  sandy  tracts, 
with  groves  about  the  river-courses. 

The  grand  peculiarity  of  the  sertao — that  which  distin- 
guishes it  from  all  other  parts  of  Brazil — is  the  marked  divi- 
sion of  the  seasons.  From  June  to  December  the  rains  cease 
almost  entirely  ;  the  streams  and  rivers  disappear,  except 
along  the  mountain-sides  ;  on  the  plains,  water  can  only  be 
obtained  by  digging  holes  along  the  dry  courses.  The  trees 
cast  their  leaves  as  a  northern  wood  does  in  winter ;  birds  mi- 
grate to  the  hills  ;  insects  and  birds  aestivate  as  northern  spe- 
cies hibernate  ;  grass  dries  up  on  the  plains,  and  nature  goes 
into  her  long  summer  sleep,  to  waken  only  with  the  early 
rains.  The  first  signs  of  change  com.e  in  September  and 
October,  with  slight  showers,  the  so-called  chiivas  de  cajti.'^ 

*  Cashew-rains,  because  the  cashew-tree  {Anacardium)  flowers  at  this  time. 

400  BRAZIL. 

Then,  in  December  and  January,  there  are  other  and  heavier 
rains  ;  so  heavy,  indeed,  that  they  sometimes  cause  serious 
losses,  by  flooding  the  plains  and  killing  crops  and  cattle. 
But  with  these  storms,  the  plant-world  starts  into  new  life. 
As,  on  a  warm  April  day  at  home,  you  can  almost  see  the 
leaves  grow,  so  here  the  naked  branches  are  covered  as  by  a 
miracle  ;  grass  springs  up  over  what  was  barren  sand  ;  ani- 
mal life  appears  once  more,  and  after  a  week  or  two,  the 
wilderness  has  become  a  garden. 

We  do  not  yet  clearly  understand  the  laws  which  govern 
changes  of  seasons  under  the  tropics.  At  Ceara  the  dry 
months,  from  July  to  January,  are  marked  by  the  prevalence 
of  regular  trade-winds  from  the  northeast,  east,  and  south- 
east. The  wet  season,  on  the  contrary,  is  distinguished  by 
calms  and  variable  winds.  No  doubt  the  two  seasons  are 
intensified  by  the  nature  of  the  soil,  a  porous  sand  almost 
everywhere.  In  the  wet  season  tliis  is  constantly  moist,  but 
never  flooded ;  the  rains  are  quickly  distributed  to  the  thirsty 
roots,  and  constant  evaporation  keeps  the  air  cool  and  moist. 
But  in  the  dry  season,  moisture  sinks  away  from  the  surface, 
and  only  the  dry  soil  is  left ;  dew  is  swallowed  up  and  lost  at 
once,  and  light  showers,  if  they  appear,  do  not  effect  the 
vegetation.  The  plains,  which  were  smiling  pastures  and 
groves,  become  dry,  cheerless  deserts,  scorched  with  heat 
all  day,  dry,  though  cool,  at  night. 

The  character  and  customs  of  a  people  depend  largely  on 
the  region  that  they  inhabit.  Thus,  on  the  Amazons,  the 
villages  are  along  the  river-shore,  or  within  a  few  miles  of  it; 
the  interior  is  untrodden  wilderness.  The  poor  folk  there 
are  fishers  and  hunters,  as  well  as  farmers  in  a  small  way  ; 
communication  is  entirely  by  water,  and  a  petty  commerce 
is  carried  on  by  means  of  trading  canoes  ;  seasons  are  regu- 

CEARA   AND    THE    DROUGHT.  401 

lated  by  the  rise  and  fall  of  the  current ;  it  is  a  river-world,  a 
population  dependent  on  this  one  mighty  stream,  and  influ- 
enced by  it  in  all  their  customs. 

In  Ceara  the  forest  was  never  thick,  and  roads  were  cut 
and  kept  open  without  difficulty  ;  they  were,  in  fact,  a  neces- 
sity, for  there  is  not  a  single  navigable  river  in  the  province. 
The  early  settlers,  attracted  by  the  rich  grass-lands  of  the 
interior,  obtained  grants  of  it  from  the  Portuguese  Govern- 
ment, and  established  cattle-farms ;  they  imported  slaves  or 
enlisted  the  services  of  the  Indians ;  lands  and  cattle  were 
passed  down  from  father  to  son,  so  that,  in  1876,  there  were 
still  estates  that  had  existed  intact  from  the  colonial  times. 

The  result  was,  a  scattered  population,  pretty  evenly  dis- 
tributed over  the  whole  province  ;  numerous  villages,  which 
were  so  many  commercial  centres,  each  with  a  few  thriving 
merchants,  a  lawyer  or  two,  a  physician,  and  so  on — just  as 
you  will  find  in  country  villages  in  the  United  States.  The 
whole  population  was  sharply  divided  into  proprietors  and 
non-proprietors.  The  first,  including  the  landholders,  mer- 
chants, and  so  forth,  were  whites,  with  less  intermixture  of 
other  races  than  is  commonly  seen  in  Brazil.  Probably  no 
other  province,  except,  perhaps,  Pernambuco,  could  show  a 
class  so  intelligent  and  industrious  ;  physically  and  morally 
they  were  far  superior  to  the  average  Brazilian  of  Rio  or  Sao 
Paulo.  Perhaps  they  had  no  greater  fault  than  being  hot- 
headed politicians,  and  not  always  willing  to  give  up  party 
prejudices  to  the  true  interests  of  the  country. 

But  this  class  formed  hardly  a  sixth  part  of  the  whole 
population,  and  even  among  them  the  number  of  educated 
families  was  surprisingly  small.  The  great  mass  of  non-pro- 
prietors formed  a  race  by  themselves  ;   the  irregular  mixture 

of  Indian,   negro,  and  white  blood  had  resulted  in  a  fixed 

402  BRAZIL. 

type,  varying  somewhat  in  color,  but  with  certain  unmistaka- 
ble characters  that  bound  all  together.  In  some  respects 
they  resembled  the  Amazonian  Indians.  The  physical  char- 
acters were  very  similar,  and,  like  the  Indians,  the  sertanejo 
was  childish,  improvident,  impatient  of  control ;  unlike  him, 
he  was  very  immoral,  and  filthy  to  the  last  degree. 

The  ordinary  dress  of  the  men  was  a  pair  of  white  draw- 
ers, with  a  shirt  hung  loosely  outside  of  them,  and  a  broad- 
brimmed,  leather  hat ;  a  costume  always  cool,  and  not  un- 
picturesque.  The  women  wore  only  a  skirt  and  chemise, 
with  a  cotton  cloth  thrown,  hood-fashion,  over  their  heads, 
to  shield  them  from  the  sun.  The  boys  and  girls  were  con- 
tent with  a  white  shirt.  As  these  garments  were  hardly 
changed  or  washed  from  one  year's  end  to  the  other,  the 
original  color  was  soon  lost.  As  for  the  bodies  underneath 
them,  I  suppose  that  the  only  washings  they  received  were 
from  the  winter  showers,  or  the  rivers  that  they  crossed. 

A  certain  number  of  the  sertanejos  were  regularly  em- 
ployed as  herdsmen  ;  the  rest  were  congregated  about  the 
villages  or  large  estates,  sometimes  letting  their  services  for 
a  day  or  two,  and  planting  little  patches  of  mandioca  and 
vegetables,  or  hunting  on  the  mountains.  They  lived  in 
palm-thatched  huts,  and,  having  no  property  of  their  own,  of 
course  paid  no  taxes  to  the  state. 

In  Ceara  nearly  all  the  land  was  private  property,  and 
much  of  it,  as  I  have  said,  was  included  in  large  estates. 
Hence  there  had  resulted  a  kind  of  mild  feudal  system.  The 
dependents  of  the  old  Portuguese  proprietor  had  given  rise 
to  numerous  families,  many  of  whom  still  lived  on  the  estate, 
and  were  permitted  to  cultivate  small  portions  of  it,  rent 
free.  In  return  for  this,  they  were  obliged  to  give  their 
services  for  one  or  two  days  in  the  week,  as  the  patrao  de- 


sired  ;  for  such  labor,  they  were  regularly  paid  at  the  rate  of 
thirty  or  forty  cents  per  day.  These  people  were  known  as 
aggregados  ;  the  landlord  exercised  the  office  of  a  magistrate 
among  them,  and,  as  his  rule  was  reasonably  just,  the  poor 
people  hardly  ever  rebelled  against  it.  In  fact,  they  were 
attached  to  his  interests  almost  blindly  ;  in  the  last  century, 
and  even  in  the  early  part  of  this  one,  they  sometimes  served 
as  armed  retainers,  in  the  petty  political  wars  or  private  quar- 
rels of  the  richer  class.  But  with  the  advance  of  republican 
ideas,  this  feudal  tenure  lost  much  of  its  force. 

As  canoe-life  is  a  part  of  Amazonian  travel,  so  one's 
memories  of  Ceara  will  always  be  connected  with  long  rides 
over  the  picturesque  country-roads.  The  horses  here  were 
small,  slender-limbed,  gentle,  and  as  easy-going  as  rocking- 
chairs  ;  the  best  of  them  were  pacers,  and  it  was  no  un- 
common thing  for  a  rider  to  make  sixty  miles  or  more 
a  day,  often  on  very  rough  ground,  and  this  for  weeks  to- 

Almost  all  the  produce  of  the  province  was  carried  on 
horses.  It  is  true  that  there  were  clumsy,  wooden-wheeled 
ox-carts,  but  these  were  seldom  seen  ;  throughout  the  coun- 
try the  traveller  met  long  cavalcades  of  horses,  each  with  a 
heavy  pack  slung  over  its  back.  Often  these  packs  were 
bundles  of  hides  folded  square  ;  or  bales  of  cotton,  or  sacks 
of  sugar  ;  if  the  caravan  were  passing  in  from  the  coast,  there 
were  leather  trunks  and  sacks,  filled  with  provisions  and 
clothes.  Sometimes,  in  long  journeys,  leather  water-bottles 
were  carried,  one  on  either  side  of  the  saddle.  Most  of  the 
horses  in  these  cavalcades  were  without  halter  or  bridle  ;  a 
few  only  were  mounted  by  boys  or  men,  who  perched  them- 
selves above  the  packs,  with  their  feet  dangling  on  either 
side  of  the  horse's  neck,  or  crossed  over  it.     Women  rode  in 



the  same  way,  often  with  their  children  in  baskets,  slung,  like 
the  packs,  one  on  either  side  of  the  horse.  Two  or  three 
men,  armed  with  guns  and  swords,  kept  guard  over  each 
caravan,  and,  to  vary  its  character,  a  few  mules  were  often 
mingled  with  the  horses,  and  perhaps  a  sheep,  with  a  small 
pack  like  the  rest. 

A  principal  commerce  of  the  country  was  in  hides  and 

J      -J     ^?A^ 

Road-side  Scene,   Ceara. 

jerked  beef.  Before  the  drought,  many  of  the  proprietors 
counted  their  cattle  by  tens  of  thousands,  and  kept  some 
hundred  herdsmen  under  their  orders  ;  men  who  were  in 
the  saddle  half  their  lives,  so  that  riding  became  an  instinct 
to  them.  Some  of  their  feats  were  astonishing.  Clad  in  full 
leather  suit — ^hat,  coat,  vest,  breeches,  and  long  boots, — they 
would  ride  after  a  wild  bull,  at  full  gallop  through  the  tangled 
forest,  regardless   of  thorns  and   smaller  branches,  dodging 


tree-trunks,   and  passing  through  openings  such  as  no  sane 
man  would  venture  at  in  cold  blood.* 

Cattle-raising  was  almost  confined  to  the  warm  plains. 
Along  the  cooler  mountain-sides  there  were  plantations  of 
sugar,  coffee  and  cotton,  and  all  these  articles  were  exported. 

Ceara  has  no  harbor,  but  a  few  ports  are  scattered  along 
the  coast.  The  largest  of  these  is  the  capital,  Fortaleza.  In 
1876  it  contained  about  twenty-five  thousand  inhabitants. 
The  streets  were  wide  and  clean,  and  the  whole  appearance  of 
the  city  was  very  pleasing.  Ships  anchored  in  the  open  road- 
stead ;  freight  was  carried  in  lighters,  and  passengers  and 
luggage  on  jaiigadas.^  Like  the  interior  of  the  province, 
the  capital  was,  normally,  very  healthy  ;  and  being  always 
cooled  by  the  sea-breezes,  the  heat  was  never  oppressive. 

Pass  the   preceding  statements   in  review.     In   1876  the 

*  "When  the  oxen  are  to  be  collected  for  the  market,  the  service  is  more  dan- 
gerous, and  frequently  the  rider  is  under  the  necessity  of  throwing  the  animal  to  the 
ground  by  his  long  pole.  On  the  man's  approach,  the  ox  runs  off  into  the  nearest 
wood,  and  the  man  follows  as  closely  as  he  can,  that  he  may  take  advantage  of  the 
opening  of  the  branches,  which  is  made  by  the  beast,  as  these  shortly  close  again, 
resuming  their  former  position.  At  times  the  ox  passes  under  a  low  and  thick 
branch  of  a  tree;  then  the  man  likewise  passes  under  the  branch,  and  that  he  may 
do  this,  he  leans  to  the  right  side,  so  completely  as  to  enable  him  to  lay  hold  of  the 
girth  of  his  saddle  with  his  left  hand,  and,  at  the  same  time,  his  left  heel  catches  the 
flap  of  the  saddle  ;  thus,  with  the  pole  in  his  right  hand,  almost  trailing  upon  the 
ground,  he  follows  without  slacking  his  pace,  and  being  clear  of  this  obstacle,  again 
resumes  his  seat.  If  he  can  overtake  the  ox,  he  runs  his  goad  into  its  side,  and  if 
this  is  dexterously  done  he  throws  it.  Then  he  dismounts  and  ties  the  animal's  legs 
together,  or  places  one  foreleg  over  its  horns,  which  secures  it  most  effectually. 
Many  blows  are  received  by  these  men,  but  death  is  rarely  occasioned." — Koster: 
Travels  in  Brazil.     1817.     Vol.  i.,  p.  235. 

t  The  jangada  is  a  small  raft,  with  a  raised  staging  at  one  end,  and  a  great  tri- 
angular sail.  The  passenger  is  carried  through  the  surf  safely,  if  he  holds  on  tightly 
enough.  If  the  surf  is  at  all  high  the  baggage  gets  wet ;  the  passenger  does,  in  any 



province  contained  nine  hundred  thousand  inhabitants,  or 
more  than  the  whole  Amazons  valley.  Of  these,  perhaps 
one  hundred  and  fifty  thousand  were  proprietors,  and  pos- 
sibly twenty  thousand  could  be  called  rich  men  ;  but  the 
riches  consisted  of  cattle  and  farms,  and  the  yearly  revenue 
was  derived  from  the  sale  of  produce.     Seven  hundred  and 

A  Jangada  in  the   Breakers  (from  Keller). 

fifty  thousand  poor  people  had  no  landed  property.  Possi- 
bly one  hundred  and  fifty  thousand  of  these  were  regularly 
employed  ;  the  rest  lived  on  the  yearly  products  of  their 
little  plantations,  and  by  hunting,  or  doing  a  day's  work  oc- 

The  whole  population  was  dependent  on  the  fertile  soil 
for  its  sustenance.     Herds  were  pastured  on  the  grass  lands  ; 


herdsmen  and  proprietors  had  no  income  beyond  the  stock 
farms  ;  merchants  could  only  sell  where  the  herds  or  planta- 
tions gave  means  of  buying  ;  there  were  no  manufactures  ; 
the  province  was  exclusively  an  agricultural  community. 
And  the  earth,  the  mother  of  all,  depended  for  its  fertility  on 

The  wet  season  is  the  time  of  plenty  for  the  sertao. 
With  the  first  showers,  the  poor  people  have  prepared  their 
little  plantations  of  mandioca  and  vegetables,  and  the  richer 
proprietor  has  started  his  fields  of  sugar-cane  or  cotton  ;  the 
lean  cattle  fill  out  their  sides  and  rejoice  in  abundant  pastures 
and  sparkling  streams;  and  in  the  village  chapel,  the  peasants 
gather  to  give  thanks  for  the  blessing  of  rain. 

Sometimes  the  early  weeks  of  December  pass  without  the 
customary  showers  ;  then  the  peasants  come,  on  St.  Lucia's 
day,  to  pray  for  a  good  year.  But  the  weeks  pass  on,  and 
every  morning  brings  only  the  same  bright  sky,  or,  if  pass- 
ing showers  give  some  hopes  of  winter,  succeeding  days  of 
rainless  weather  dash  them  to  the  ground.  January,  Feb- 
ruary, March  :  no  rain,  and  the  cattle  are  dying.  Now, 
with  tears  and  bitter  cries,  the  people  appeal  to  St.  Joseph, 
that  they  may  yet  be  blessed  with  a  good  year.  April :  the 
twice  or  thrice  planted  fields  have  dried  up.  May  comes 
with  a  spiteful  shower  or  two,  useless  now  because  too  late  ; 
and  then  the  summer  sets  in,  and  all  hope  must  be  trans- 
ferred to  another  year.  But,  before  that  year  comes,  men 
will  die  of  hunger. 

This  is  the  drought,  the  terrible  secca  of  the  sertao. 
There  are  many  on  record.  The  earliest  of  which  we  have 
any  definite  account,  was  in  171 1.  About  1723  there  was  a 
very  severe  drought,  in  which  whole  tribes  of  Indians  per- 

408  BRAZIL. 

ished,  and  the  cattle  were  almost  destroyed.  In  1777-7^ 
there  was  another  period  of  suffering.  Still  worse  was  the 
great  secca  of  1790,  which  lasted  three  or  four  years,  and 
almost  depopulated  the  province.  '*  It  was  not  unusual," 
wrote  an  eye-witness,  *'  to  find  habitations  where,  by  the 
side  of  putrefying  bodies,  lay  wretches  still  alive,  and  covered 
with  blood-sucking  bats,  which  the  victims  had  no  strength 
to  drive  away."  * 

Of  the  terrible  drought  of  1824-25  the  people  of  Ceard 
retain  many  traditions.  The  best  description  of  it  is  that 
given  by  Dr.  Thomaz  Pompeu  de  Souza  Brazil.  I  ven- 
ture to  translate  it  almost  entire  : 

"  The  year  1824  was  bad,  and  1825  was  very  dry  ;  there  were,  how- 
ever, a  few  rains  about  certain  river-courses,  which  caused  a  little  grass 
to  spring  up,  but  not  enough  to  keep  the  cattle  through  the  year.  The 
effects  of  the  physical  calamity  were  aggravated,  first  by  the  concourse 
of  moral  causes,  and  afterward  by  pestilence.  From  1821  and  1822,  the 
public  mind  had  been  agitated  by  the  Portuguese  revolution,  and  the 
establishment  of  Brazilian  independence.  In  1824  this  was  followed  by 
a  republican  revolution,  and  the  monarchical  reaction  extended  through 
the  year  1825.  The  year  1824  had  bequeathed  to  its  successor,  not 
only  drought,  but  penury  and  desolation,  from  civil  war  and  assassina- 
tions ;  1825  was  ushered  in,  and  continued  under  the  influence  of  this 
triple  calamity  :  drought  and  famine,  civil  war,  and  the  pestilence  of 
small-pox.  This  accumulation  of  calamities  was  still  further  aggravated, 
by  the  extensive  enlistment  of  the  able-bodied  men  who  were  left  in  the 

"The  cattle  estates  were  ruined;  what  escaped  the  drought  was 
carried  off  by  robbers.  Many  farms  were  abandoned,  and  immense 
districts  of  the  sertao  were  completely  deserted.  The  mortality  in  the 
interior  settlements,  and  even  in  Fortaleza,  was  horrible.  In  the  larger 
villages,  the  victims  of  hunger  were  few,  because  food  came  from  be- 

*  P.  Joaquim  Jose  Pereira,  in  Revista  do  Institute  Historico  e  Geographico. 


yond  the  province  ;  but  the  agglomeration  of  immigrants  from  the  inte- 
rior tended  greatly  to  increase  the  death-rate.  It  is  estimated  that  a 
third  of  the  population  died  of  famine,  assassinations,  pestilence  or 
hunger,  or  were  drafted  into  the  army,  or  migrated  to  other  provinces. 

*'  The  interior  of  the  province  was  almost  deserted.  Herdsmen  and 
farmers  sought  refuge  in  Fortaleza  and  Sobral,  or  the  larger  settle- 
ments, against  the  famine  and  robbers.  A  mixed  band  of  these  latter 
overran  the  sertao,  and  took  possession  of  all  they  found,  as  in  a  time  of 
open  communism.  The  unfortunate  people,  fleeing  from  hunger  and  ban- 
dits, flocked  to  the  larger  villages.  By  the  road-sides,  in  the  fields,  in 
the  very  streets  and  squares,  unburied  bodies  were  left  of  those  who  had 
fainted  by  the  way. 

*'  The  pestilence  of  small-pox,  which  followed  or  accompanied  the 
famine  in  the  beginning  of  1826,  completed  the  destruction  of  the  indi- 
gent population  which  had  flocked  to  the  capital. 

"  The  lack  of  rains  in  1825  was  not  so  complete  that  no  pasturage 
was  left ;  in  some  of  the  river-courses  a  little  grass  sprang  up,  and  at 
least  one-tenth  of  the  cattle  escaped. 

"  It  does  not  appear  that  the  General  Government,  during  the  year 
1825,  took  the  least  interest  in  lessening  the  misfortunes  of  the  people. 
Only  at  the  end  of  the  year  1826,  or  in  1827,  when  the  evil  had  passed, 
a  little  farinha  was  sent  to  Ceara.  The  product  of  an  extensive  sub- 
scription, started  in  Para  by  the  virtuous  D.  Romualdo,  Archbishop  of 
Bahia,  was  delivered  to  a  certain  merchant  of  Fortaleza  ;  according  to  a 
report  of  the  provincial  president,  this  man  retained  the  money,  send- 
ing orders  to  his  debtors  in  the  interior,  to  distribute  aid  on  his  account ; 
but  they  had  nothing  to  distribute."* 

Passing  by  the  less  fatal  drought  of  1844- '45,  we  hear  of 
no  more  dry  years  up  to  1877,  the  beginning  of  the  greatest 
and  most  terrible  secca  of  all. 

The  winters  of  1875  and  1876  were  both  severe,  with  tor- 
rential rains,  causing  much  damage  to  the  crops  and  cattle. 
There  was  political  mismanagement  in  the  province  ;    this, 

*  Pompeu :  Memoria  sobre  o  Clima  e  Seccas  do  Ceara,  p.  20. 

41 0  BRAZIL. 

and  the  floods,  with  their  resulting  losses,  had  nearly  emp- 
tied the  treasury.  In  the  interior  the  laws  were  only  half 
enforced,  and  many  cases  of  robbery,  and  even  murder,  were 

In  February,  vague  rumors  of  drought  began  to  circulate 
in  Fortaleza.  The  rains  about  the  city  had  been  few  and 
light ;  letters  from  the  interior  stated  that  the  first  plantings 
had  been  lost,  and  that  cattle  were  suffering  from  lack  of 
pasturage  and  water.  There  the  cJitroas  de  caju  had  not 
been  felt  at  all,  and  there  were  no  January  rains.  By  the 
first  of  March,  the  prospect  was  still  worse  ;  the  bishop 
ordered  prayers  in  all  the  churches,  ad pretendam  plicviain. 

Still  there  were  hopes  of  a  good  year.  The  winter,  it 
was  said,  might  be  delayed  without  causing  irreparable  dam- 
age to  the  crops  and  herds  ;  rains  would  come  in  March  and 
April,  and  all  would  be  well.  So  reasoned  the  Cearenses, 
and  so  reasoned  the  Government  officers  at  Rio  ;  if,  indeed, 
they  ever  gave  a  second  thought  to  the  short  notices  which 
appeared  in  the  papers.  But  March  and  April  and  May 
passed  on,  and  in  some  districts  there  were  no  rains  at  all. 
The  scanty  pasture  of  January  was  dried  up  ;  the  plantings 
had  failed  utterly  ;  all  through  Ceara  the  drought  was  de- 

Already  there  were  stories  of  want  and  hunger  at  Ico, 
Principe  Imperial,  twenty  other  interior  towns  ;  at  Telha  the 
poor  people  were  suffering  terribly,  and  even  famine-deaths 
were  reported  among  them.  Everywhere  the  peasants  were 
deserting  their  plantations,  and  crowding  to  the  larger  vil- 
lages in  search  of  food.  The  herdsmen,  hopeless  of  saving 
their  cattle,  began  to  slaughter  them  to  secure  the  hides  and 
tallow  ;  hence,  for  a  time,  there  were  deceptively  large  ex- 
ports of  these  products.     While  the  cattle  slaughter  lasted,. 


there  were  few  deaths  from  absolute  hunger ;  the  poor  went 
begging  of  the  rich,  and  readily  obtained  bits  of  meat.  But 
when  the  herds  were  gone,  the  peasants  began  to  starve. 
From  the  villages  there  went  up  a  great  cry  for  food  ;  two 
hundred  thousand  people  were  begging  from  door  to  door. 

In  April  and  May  good  men  listened  and  gave  freely  ;  in 
June  and  July  good  men  turned  away  and  cried  in  their 
hearts  to  God,  for  they  had  nothing  to  give.  The  Cearenses 
are  kind-hearted  and  hospitable  ;  many  an  one  gave  up  his 
own  poor  dinner  to  feed  his  poorer  brother  ;  but  they  could 
not  give  forever.  The  herdsmen  were  ruined  ;  the  farmers 
had  nothing  to  sell ;  the  merchants  could  not  collect  their 
bills ;  the  whole  country  was  poverty-stricken.  In  a  few 
spots,  where  the  grass  was  not  all  gone,  bands  of  cattle- 
thieves  kept  thinning  out  the  remaining  herds.  The  peas- 
ants, when  charity  failed  them,  wandered  through  the  dry 
woods  looking  for  miiciunan*  seeds,  and  the  roots  of  certain 
shrubs,  like  the  pdo  de  moco.  As  the  summer  wore  on, 
many,  even  of  the  richer  class,  were  obliged  to  resort  to  this 
unwholesome  food. 

Small  supplies  of  provisions  came  in  from  other  provinces, 
and  were  sent  to  the  interior  towns  on  the  backs  of  horses  ; 
but  often  the  animals  died  on  the  way,  or  the  caravans  were 
robbed.  In  some  places,  where  they  had  no  horses,  pro- 
visions were  brought  in  on  men's  shoulders.  The  few  bas- 
kets of  mandioca-meal,  obtained  in  this  way,  were  retailed 
by  the  merchants  at  fabulous  prices — frequently  eight  or  ten 
times   above  the  normal — so  that  only  the   rich  could  buy. 

*  The  mucuman  is  like  a  sea-bean,  and  belongs,  I  believe,  to  the  same  genus. 
It  contains  a  starchy  substance,  which  the  starving  people  used  in  place  of  mandi- 
oca-meal ;  but  it  almost  always  brought  on  dropsy  and  death.  These  poisoning 
cases  were  frequent  during  the  drought. 

412  BRAZIL. 

The  universal  credit  system  of  Brazil  created  fearful  evils. 
Merchants,  who  saw  ruin  staring  them  in  the  face,  were  hard 
creditors ;  to  save  themselves,  they  hastened  the  ruin  of 
others,  seizing  the  few  cattle  that  remained,  and  the  little 
property  that  might  be  sold  to  obtain  food.  Let  us  not 
unduly  blame  these  men.  Many  of  them  were  ruined  with 
the  rest,  because  they  would  not  claim  their  own. 

Long,  long  was  the  summer  of  1877.  Drought  blazed  in 
the  sertao  ;  the  birds  fell  dead  from  leafless  trees ;  foxes  and 
armadillos  died  in  their  holes  ;  insects  disappeared.  Drought 
withered  the  sea-coast  woods,  dried  up  the  streams,  brought 
thousands  of  refugees  to  Fortaleza  and  the  interior  towns. 
Drought  sent  famished  cries  to  Rio,  but  the  mad  Govern- 
ment could  not  believe  that  its  people  were  starving  :  cried 
back  through  its  journals  that  the  whole  story  was  a  political 
scheme,  with  hardly  a  foundation  of  facts.  Late  in  the  year, 
they  reluctantly  voted  a  million  of  dollars  to  the  sufferers, 
and  this  was  applied  very  slowly.  The  Brazilian  people 
were  not  so  dull-eared.  At  Pernambuco  they  had  an  aid 
commission  for  Ceara  in  May.  Maranhao  and  Para  were  not 
far  behind  ;  and  then  the  populace  of  Rio  took  up  the  work, 
organized  fairs  and  parties  and  balls  to  aid  the  sufferers, 
levied  subscriptions  on  the  public  streets  and  in  the  parks 
and  gardens,  freighted  ships  with  provisions.  Not  as  New 
York  would  have  done  ;  but  the  subscriptions  were  large  for 
Brazil,  and  would  have  been  larger  had  the  real  magnitude 
of  the  evil  been  known. 

October,  November,  December,  passed  slowly,  and  the 
Cearenses  began  to  look  forward  hopefully  to  the  January 
rains.  But  meanwhile  at  Fortaleza,  Ico,  Telha,  Principe  Im- 
perial, the  peasants  had  gathered  by  thousands,  living  in 
hastily  constructed  huts  and  begging  daily  for  food.      Relief 



commissioners  were  appointed,  but  they  had  Httle  money, 
and  hardly  any  provisions  at  their  command  ;  many  of  them 
were  composed  of  incompetent  men,  and  some  were  palpa- 
bly dishonest.  Private  charity  saved  many,  but  already,  in 
July  and  August,  scores  of  deaths  from  starvation  were 
recorded.  In  October  and  November  these  deaths  were 
counted  by  their  daily  rate :  ten,  fifteen,  twenty  even  in 
a  single  refugee 
camp,  where  per- 
haps ten  or  fif- 
teen thousand 
were  gathered. 
Vastly  more 
numerous  were 
the  deaths  from 
disease.  The 
filthiness  of  the 
camps,  and  of 
the  refugees 
combined  with 
the  lack  of  food, 
made  them  a 
ready  prey  to 
epideipics.  First  came  fevers  ;  then  the  curious,  paralytic 
beri-beri ;  then  small -pox,  which,  happily,  was  not  wide- 
spread at  this  time,  though  it  steadily  gained  ground.  The 
authorities  neglected  to  enforce  any  efficient  sanitary  meas- 
ures ;  the  Provincial  Government  was  weak,  and  the  people 
looked  on  helplessly.  Throughout  the  province,  probably 
fifty  thousand  people  died  during  this  first  famine-year. 

At  the  beginning  of  1878  the  condition  of  the  province 

Group  of  Refugee  Children  (from  a  photograph.) 

414  BRAZIL. 

was  this :  The  open  country  was  generally  abandoned ; 
nearly  the  whole  population  was  gathered  about  the  villa- 
ges, and  the  plains  were  left,  black  and  desolate.  A  large 
proportion  of  the  cattle  had  perished  ;  the  plantations  were 
withered  except  on  a  few  fertile  hill-sides,  as  at  Baturite, 
where  running  water  still  came  down  from  the  springs.  Be- 
tween the  interior  towns  and  the  coast  there  was  a  band  of 
almost  impassable  wilderness,  where  the  ground  was  utterly 
dry,  where  not  so  much  as  a  blade  of  green  grass  appeared, 
where  the  river-beds  were  strips  of  heated  sand  and  clay, 
yielding  no  water,  even  by  the  usual  method  of  digging 
holes  to  the  subsoil.  At  Ico  and  Telha,  the  death-rate, 
from  starvation  alone,  was  more  than  a  score  each  day. 
These  desolate  plains  and  famishing  people  were  ruled  by 
a  weak  government ;  the  provincial  treasury  was  almost 
empty ;  provisions  sent  from  Rio  were  locked  up  in  the 
public  storehouses,  held  back,  no  one  knew  why,  when  the 
need  was  most  urgent. 

January  came  and  crept  on,  day  after  day,  with  clear 
skies.  After  awhile  there  were  a  few  little  showers,  just 
moistening  the  surface,  and  bringing  up  stray  blades  of  grass  ; 
but  the  first  planting  failed  utterly. 

February.  Men's  hearts  sank  ever  lower  ;  the  peasants 
cast  longing  eyes  to  the  bright  blue  above.  In  the  villages, 
they  formed  penitential  processions,  cutting  themselves  with 
knives,  carrying  heavy  stones  on  their  heads,  and  crying  and 
beating  their  breasts.  Poor  things,  it  availed  them  little 
enough  !  The  winter  did  not  come,  and  the  death-lists  rose 
to  frightful  figures.*     Drought-stricken,  starving  Ceara  saw 

*  A  friend,  who  was  at  Acaracu  just  before  the  great  exodus  took  place,  affirms 
that  eight  hundred  deaths  occurred  there  from  the  7th  to  the  15th  of  February, 
and  that  the  larger  portion  of  these  were  caused  by  starvation.     It  is  difj^cult  to  be- 



another  year   of  drought  and  starvation  coming  down  upon 

First  of  March,  and  no  rains.  Government  aid  almost 
withdrawn.  No  food  left  in  the  villages  ;  no  hope  for  the 
starving  peasants.  Then,  as  by  one  impulse,  a  wild  panic 
caught   them.      Four  hundred  thousand,  they  deserted    the 

The  Exodus. 

sertao  and  rushed  down  to  the  coast.  Oh  !  it  was  terrible, 
that  mad  flight.  Over  all  the  roads  there  came  streams  of 
fugitives,  men  and  women  and  little  children,  naked,  lean, 
famine-weak,  dragging  wearily  across  the  plains,  staining  the 
rocky    mountain-paths    with   their   bleeding    feet,    begging, 

lieve  this  ;  yet  I  know  that  my  informant  had  every  opportunity  for  observation, 
and  it  is  not  probable  that  he  exaggerated  wilfully.  In  Crato,  from  February 
loth  to  March  i8th,  the  number  of  famine-deaths  recorded  was  six  hundred  and 
sixty-four ;  in  Corin,  during  the  same  period,  nearly  four  hundred  were  registered. 
This  includes,  in  part,  the  time  of  the  great  exodus,  when  the  mortality  was 

4l6  BRAZIL. 

praying  at  every  house  for  a  morsel  of  food.  They  were 
famished  when  they  started.  Two,  three,  four  days  at 
times,  they  held  their  way  ;  then  the  children  lagged  be- 
hind in  weakness,  calling  vainly  to  their  panic-wild  fathers  ; 
then  men  and  w^omen  sank  and  died  on  the  stones.  I  have 
talked  with  men  who  came  from  the  interior  with  the  great 
exodus  ;  they  tell  stories  of  suffering  to  wring  one's  heart ; 
they  tell  of  skeleton  corpses  unburied  by  the  road-side,  for 
a  hundred  thousand  dead  *  were  left  by  the  w^ay.  If  you 
ride  to-day  through  the  sertao  you  will  see,  in  many  places, 
a  wooden  cros?  by  the  road-side,  marking  the  spot  where 
some  poor  wretch  expired.  So  let  them  rest.  Poor  peas- 
ants they  were,  ignorant  and  coarse  and  filthy  ;  but  they  are 
canonized  now,  with  the  glory  of  great  suffering. 

By  the  first  of  April,  the  interior  of  the  province  was  al- 
most deserted  ;  but  now  the  scene  of  suffering  was  transferred 
to  the  coast.  At  Fortaleza,  nearly  a  hundred  and  fifty  thou- 
sand people  were  gathered  ;  at  Aracaty  there  were  eighty 
thousand  ;  at  Granja  and  Baturite,  lesser  armies  ;  all  crying 
for  food,  crying  with  the  eloquence  of  starvation,  showing 
their  emaciated  bodies,  weeping  and  cursing  before  the  doors 
of  the  aid  commissioners.  Even  if  suppHes  had  been  never  so 
abundant,  the  commissioners  might  well  have  quailed  before 
such  a  demand.  So  great  was  the  flood,  so  sudden  in  its 
panic-burst,  that  all  the  available  supplies  were  too  little. 
Men  who  had  waited  all  day  to  receive  a  scanty  ration,  had 
to  turn  away,  empty-handed.  Long  processions  of  mendi- 
cants passed  through  the  streets,  begging  at  every  door ; 
many  were  utterly  naked  ;  many  fell  in  the  streets  from 
weakness.      Some  who  had  food  given  them  could  not  swal- 

*  Some  say  a  hundred  and  fifty  thousand. 


low  it,  SO  great  was  their  exhaustion  ;  they  died  even  in  sight 
of  plenty.  More  than  one  body  was  picked  up  in  the  very 
streets  of  Fortaleza.*  The  merest  scraps  of  food  were  ac- 
cepted with  tears  of  gratitude  ;  garbage-piles  were  searched 
for  melon-rinds  and  banana-skins.  A  trader  at  Baturite  told 
me  that  a  refugee  asked  permission  to  kill  rats  in  his  store, 
that  he  might  eat  them.  Dead  horses  and  dogs  were  de- 
voured ;  there  are  dark  stories  of  cannibalism  which  may  be 
true.  God  only  knows,  for  little  heed  was  taken  of  horrors 
in  this  time  of  dismay.f 

But  now  came  good  news  from  Rio.  A  year  of  suffering 
was  not  enough  to  open  the  official  eyes,  but  this  terrible 
stampede  did  it.  The  new  Sinimbii  ministry  awoke  to  the 
situation  ;  it  acknowledged  that  there  was  drought  in  the 
sertao.  The  senators  and  delegates  woke  up  and  voted  a 
fund  of  ten  million  dollars  to  the  sufferers.  A  new  president 
was  appointed  to  Ceara  ;  the  provincial  government  was  re- 
solved into  a  great  aid  commission,  almost  the  only  business 
of  which  was  to  provide  for  the  poor.  Loads  of  provisions 
came  in  by  every  ship ;   sub-commissions  were  appointed  for 

*  I  have  a  series  of  photographs,  which  were  taken  in  Fortaleza  at  this  time, 
and  they  speak  more  eloquently  than  words  can  of  the  terrible  suffering  which  ex- 
isted. The  photographers  told  me  that  the  subjects  were  picked  up  at  random  in 
the  streets,  and  the  most  were  found,  as  they  are  seen  in  the  pictures,  perfectly 
naked.  I  can  compare  these  photographs  to  nothing  but  the  pictures  of  Ander- 
sonville  prisoners,  which  were  published  during  the  war ;  it  seems  impossible  that 
such  skeletons  could  have  lived. 

1 1  have  little  reason  to  doubt  one  of  the  stories,  which  came  to  me  from  a  reli- 
able source.  My  informant  stated  that  a  man,  who  had  been  four  days  without 
food,  was  lying  alone  in  his  hut,  when  a  child  came  in.  The  child  was  well  fed 
and  fat,  and  the  man  was  ravenous  with  hunger.  He  enticed  the  child  to  him, 
killed  it  with  a  knife,  and  ate  a  portion  of  the  body  ;  but  a  few  hours  after,  he 
died  from  the  effects  of  his  horrible  feast.  Another  story  is  of  a  woman,  who 
killed  her  little  brother  for  food.  I  believe  that  such  cases  may  have  arisen  from 
insanity,  a  common  result  of  starvation. 

4l8  BRAZIL. 

every  village  that  was  not  utterly  deserted  ;  money  and  sup- 
plies were  furnished  liberally. 

This  was  well,  but  with  it  a  fresh  evil  arose.  The  money 
should  have  been  used  in  giving  honest  work  to  the  people  ; 
they  should  have  been  employed  in  constructing  railroads, 
improving  the  harbor — anything  to  keep  them  from  idleness. 
But  the  government  gave  alms,  daily  rations  to  be  had  for 
the  asking.  So  it  came  about  that  the  refugees  looked  upon 
this  charity  as  their  right ;  they  lived  in  indolent  inaction  ; 
would  not  work  Avhen  they  could.  Free  steamer-passages 
were  given  to  those  who  wished  td  emigrate,  and  thousands 
went  to  the  neighboring  provinces  ;  single  vessels  were 
freighted  with  many  hundreds.*  But  the  refugees  carried 
the  same  mendicant  spirit  with  them  ;  in  Para  and  Pernam- 
buco  they  lived  on  public  charity,  or,  if  they  engaged  for 
awhile  in  steady  work,  they  soon  returned  to  street-begging 
and  the  public  rations. 

At  length,  in  July,  the  Government  sent  engineers  to 
Ceara,  with  orders  to  locate  two  railroads  and  employ  on 
them  all  the  able-bodied  refugees.  At  the  head  of  this 
work  was  placed  Sr.  Carlos  Morsing,  a  Brazilian  by  birth, 
half-German  by  descent,  and  American  by  education.  This 
gentleman  took  up  his  task  with  commendable  zeal  and  en- 
thusiasm. He  was  opposed  by  politicians  and  the  adverse 
press  ;  the  refugees,  at  first,  cried  loudly  against  his  rule  ; 
but  with  plenary  powers  from  Rio,  and  ready  aid  from  the 
president,  he  fought  his  way  on  steadily.  There  was  an  old 
railroad  from  Fortaleza  to  Pacatuba,  about  thirty  miles ;  this 
was  in  bad  condition,  and  a  dead  loss  to  the  company  that 

*  The  refugees  were  often  crowded  on  the  open  decks,  and  poorly  fed  ;  their 
filthiness  almost  made  the  ship  unendurable  to  the  other  passengers.  In  one  or 
two  instances  small-pox  broke  out  on  board,  causing  a  fearful  mortality. 


built  it.  The  government  bought  this  at  a  low  price,  and 
work  was  immediately  begun  on  an  extension  to  Baturite. 
A  similar  railroad  was  started  at  Aracaty.  By  December, 
fifteen  thousand  workmen  were  employed.  The  men  re- 
ceived fifteen  cents  per  day,  besides  their  regular  rations, 
which  were  stopped  if  they  refused  to  work.  Various  pub- 
lic buildings  were  commenced  at  Fortaleza  and  elsewhere  ; 
the  relief  service  was  placed  in  better  hands,  and,  altogether, 
a  better  state  of  things  seemed  to  be  at  hand. 

But  now,  following  in  the  wake  of  famine,  came  pesti- 
lence. The  refugees  were  huddled  together  about  Fortaleza 
and  Aracaty,  barely  sheltered  from  the  sun  in  huts  of  boughs 
or  palm-leaves.  The  camps  were  filthy  to  the  last  degree  ; 
no  attempt  was  made  to  enforce  sanitary  rules,  and  even  on 
the  sea-beach  the  peasants  never  washed  themselves.  To 
these  camps  came  fever  in  its  deadliest  forms.  For  a  time 
more  than  a  hundred  died  each  day  at  Fortaleza,  and  though 
this  rate  was  lessened  in  July  and  August,  it  was  only  to  give 
place  to  the  greater  death-roll  of  small-pox. 

At  this  time  the  adventitious  population  of  Fortaleza  had 
greatly  decreased,  from  emigrations  and  death ;  yet  the 
whole  number  would  not  have  fallen  far  short  of  65,000,  be- 
sides the  normal  population  of  about  25,000.  During  the 
three  months  of  August,  September,  and  October,  the  num- 
ber of  small-pox  deaths  recorded  in  the  government  records 
was  1,472.  Vaccination  was  never  enforced  here;  the  peas- 
ants avoided  it,  either  from  superstition  or  because  they 
feared  the  pain.  Crowded  as  they  were,  often  a  score  in  one 
hut,  the  disease  ran  like  wildfire.  On  the  1st  of  November, 
99  small-pox  deaths  were  recorded  in  the  city,  and  on  the  2d, 
124.  From  this  time  the  rate  increased  steadily,  until  it 
reached  a  frightful  figure.     On  the  30th  of  November  it  was 

420  BRAZIL. 

574,  and  the  entire  number  recorded  for  the  month  was 
9,834,  besides  1,231  from  other  diseases,  making  11,065  i^ 
all.  But  this  includes  only  the  recorded  burials  in  the  public 
cemeteries.  It  is  well  known  that  many,  despite  of  the  law, 
were  buried  in  the  woods,  or  taken  out  to  sea  owjangadas 
and  sunk. 

Still  the  death-rate  went  on  increasing  steadily.  On  De- 
cember lOth,  808  bodies  were  buried  at  the  small-pox  ceme- 
tery, and  36  in  the  city  ground,  making  844  in  all.  This 
was  the  maximum  ;  during  the  rest  of  the  month,  the  rate 
decreased  as  steadily  as  it  had  risen.  The  entire  number  of 
small-pox  burials  registered  during  this  month  was  14,390, 
and  there  were  over  i  ,000  deaths  from  other  diseases.  We 
find,  then,  that  during  the  two  months  of  November  and 
December,  the  whole  number  of  recorded  deaths  in  Fortaleza 
was  over  26,000,  or  between  one-third  and  one-fourth  of  the 
population.  Allowing  for  illegal  and  unrecorded  burials,  it  is 
probable  that  fully  one-third  of  the  people  perished  during 
these  two  months.* 

Meanwhile,  the  epidemic  had  spread  to  the  surrounding 
villages,  where,  in  some  instances,  the  death-rate  was  propor- 
tionally even  greater  than  in  Fortaleza.  In  Pacatuba,  out  of 
a  population  of  3,500,  the  rate  for  nearly  a  week  was  over 
100  per  day.      At  a  few  places  only — notably  Baturite — the 

*  During  the  year  1878,  the  entire  number  of  recorded  small-pox  deaths  at  For- 
taleza was  24,769,  and  from  other  causes,  33,236 ;  this  latter  number  includes  the 
deaths,  during  the  early  part  of  the  year,  from  fever,  beri-beri,  and  starv^ation.  The 
dead  from  the  refugee-camps  of  Mucuripe,  Coco,  and  Alagadico,  suburbs  of  the  city, 
were  buried  in  small  cemeteries,  and  their  number  is  not  recorded. 

From  January  ist  to  July  ist,  1879,  when  the  epidemic  was  dying  out,  the  num- 
ber of  small-pox  deaths  recorded  in  the  city  was  2,340. 

These,  and  other  statistics,  were  obtained  through  the  kindness  of  the  editor  of 
the  ' '  Cearensc  "  journal. 

CEARA    AND    THE    DROUGHT.  421 

epidemic  was  stayed  by  vaccination  and  effectual  sanitary 

The  entire  mortality  in  Ceara,  during  1877  and  1878.  was 
probably  not  far  from  500,000,  or  more  than  half  the  popu- 
lation. Of  these,  50,000  died  of  starvation  and  disease  dur- 
ing the  first  year ;  50,000  during  the  months  of  January 
and  February,  1878  ;  during  March  and  April,  which  in- 
cluded the  great  exodus,  at  least  150,000  perished,  the 
most  from  starvation.  Fever  and  beri-beri  carried  off 
100,000,  and  small-pox,  80,000  more  ;  the  remaining  deaths 
were  from  various  diseases,  the  majority  more  or  less  direct- 
ly traceable  to  starvation  and  weakness,  and  unwholesome 

My  personal  observations  of  this  great  calamity  were  con- 
fined to  a  part  of  December,  1878.  I  reached  Fortaleza  on 
the  19th  of  that  month,  when  the  death-rate  from  small-pox 
had  gone  down  to  about  350  per  day.  Aided  by  His  Excel- 
lency, President  Julio,  and  by  Sr.  Morsing,  I  was  able,  during 
the  ten  days  of  my  stay,  to  make  very  careful  observations, 
both  at  Fortaleza  and  in  the  interior.  It  is  not  a  pleasant 
subject ;  but  as  the  facts  I  gleaned  may  have  some  historical 
value,  I  will  epitomize  them  here. 

At  first  I  saw  very  few  signs  of  the  pestilence.  The  city 
streets  were  clean  and  neat ;  here  and  there  I  noticed  refu- 
gees standing  idly  by  the  street-corners,  and  some  of  these 
had  small-pox  scars  on  their  faces.  About  the  public  store- 
houses there  were  carts  and  porters  carrying  provisions  ;  no 
signs  of  starvation  were  apparent,  for  here  the  people  had 
been  well  fed  since  May. 

I  stopped  to  engage  a  room  at  the  little  hotel ;  the  land- 
lord, after  some  questioning,  acknowledged  that  there  were 
two  small-pox  cases  in  the  house  ;  but  added,  truly  enough, 

422  BRAZIL. 

that  no  better  place  could  be  found  ;  the  sick  here  were  care- 
fully isolated,  and  well  cared  for. 

I  was  much  impressed  with  the  apparent  indifference  of 
the  people  to  their  danger.  The  pestilence  was,  indeed,  an 
universal  subject  of  conversation,  but  everybody  seemed  to 
rest  in  an  easy  fatalism  or  blindness  ;  speaking  of  the  daily 
death-rate  as  one  tells  of  the  killed  and  wounded  in  a  bat- 
tle— a  real  event,  but  far  away.  I  did  not  hear  of  a  single 
resident  who  left  the  town  on  account  of  the  danger  ;  there 
was  the  usual  amount  of  dissipation  and  flirtation  ;  the  market- 
square  was  crowded,  and  men  drove  hard  bargains  ;  in  out- 
ward appearance  the  little  city  had  hardly  changed  since  1876. 

Later  in  the  day,  I  walked  out  to  the  refugee  camps  on 
the  southern  side  of  the  city.  The  huts  were  wretched  be- 
yond description  ;  many  were  built  of  boughs,  or  of  poles, 
covered  with  an  imperfect  thatch  of  palm-leaves,  and  patched 
up  with  bits  of  board  and  rags.  Here  whole  families  were 
crowded  together  in  narrow  spaces ;  filthy,  as  only  these 
Ceara  Arabs  can  be ;  ragged,  unkempt,  lounging  on  the 
sands,  a  fit  prey  for  disease.  No  measures  had  been  taken 
to  cleanse  the  camp  ;  the  ground,  in  many  places,  was 
covered  with  filth  and  refuse  ;  water,  obtained  from  a  pool 
near  by,  was  unfit  to  drink.  If  the  pestilence  was  hidden  In 
the  city,  it  was  visible  everywhere  about  the  camps.  Half- 
recovered  patients  sat  apart,  but  scarcely  heeded  ;  in  almost 
every  hut  the  sick  were  lying,  horrible  with  the  foul  disease. 
Many  dead  were  waiting  for  the  body-carriers  ;  many  more 
would  be  waiting  at  the  morning  round.  Yet  here,  among 
the  sick  and  dying  and  dead,  there  was  the  same  indiffer- 
ence to  danger  that  I  had  noticed  in  the  city.  The  peasants 
were  talking  and  laughing  with  each  other ;  three  or  four 
were  gathered   about  a  mat,  gambling  for  biscuits  ;    every- 


where  the  ghastly  patients  and  ghasther  corpses  were  passed 
unnoticed  ;  they  were  too  common  to  be  objects  of  curiosity. 

Most  of  these  people  had  come  from  the  interior  with  the 
great  exodus,  and  they  had  been  fed  by  the  Government  for 
eight  or  nine  months.  As  easily  managed  as  children,  they 
were,  like  children,  fractious,  and  careless,  and  improvi- 
dent. From  the  first,  they  should  have  been  placed  under 
rigid  military  discipline  ;  with  the  guidance  of  competent  per- 
sons, they  should  have  been  made  to  construct  good  houses, 
arranged  in  streets  and  sections,  for  their  better  government ; 
cleanliness  of  body  and  surroundings  should  have  been  en- 
forced under  the  severest  penalties  ;  and  every  able-bodied 
man  and  woman  should  have  been  employed  in  work  of 
some  kind.  But  Brazilians  everywhere  are  neglectful  of  sani- 
tary measures  ;  witness  the  dirty,  badly-drained  Rio  streets, 
where  yellow  fever  walks  unstayed  ;  witness  the  epidemic 
that  ran  through  the  army  during  the  Paraguayan  war,  carry- 
ing off  far  more  than  the  enemy's  bullets. 

In  the  morning  I  walked  farther  away  from  the  city, 
where  the  strips  of  woodland  were  as  bare  as  a  winter  land- 
scape at  home,  and  only  a  few  mandioca-fields  had  escaped 
the  general  ruin.  Here  and  there  I  passed  lonely  huts. 
Once  I  stopped  to  ask  for  a  drink  of  water,  but  the  woman 
who  was  sitting  before  the  door  told  me  that  she  had  none, 
for  the  nearest  pool  was  half  a  mile  away,  and  she  was  sick 
and  could  not  go  to  fill  the  calabash.  No  doubt  her  story 
was  true,  for  her  face  was  scarlet  with  fever,  and  she  com- 
plained of  a  throbbing  headache,  constant  symptom  of  the 
dreaded  disease.  Within  the  hut  were  three  children  ;  one, 
like  the  mother,  was  suffering  with  fever  and  headache  ;  an- 
other was  covered  with  small-pox  pustules  ;  the  third  child, 
a  baby,  was  just  dying.      A  man  who  was  passing  brought 

424  BRAZIL. 

some  water  to  the  hut.  I  suppose  that  the  woman  and  chil- 
dren were  carried  to  the  lazaretto  on  the  following  morning, 
but  among  so  many  patients  they  could  receive  little  care. 
The  three  hospitals  were  overcrowded,  and  new  patients 
could  only  come  in  as  the  daily  deaths  and  few  recoveries 
left  the  cots  vacant. 

There  was  a  cemetery  near  the  town,  where  the  dead 
were  buried  decently,  in  separate  graves.  But  this  was  the 
city  ground,  from  which  bodies  of  those  who  had  died  of 
small-pox  were  generally  excluded.  Two  miles  west  of  the 
city,  a  much  larger  ground  received  the  pestilence  dead. 
Every  morning  searchers  examined  the  huts,  and  carried 
away  the  bodies  ;  as  they  were  not  allowed  to  take  their  bur- 
dens through  the  streets,  they  carried  them  around,  either  on 
the  southern  side,  by  a  little-used  path,  or  along  the  beach. 
At  sunrise,  when  I  went  to  bathe  in  the  surf,  a  constant 
procession  of  these  body-carriers  was  passing.  Sometimes 
the  dead  were  wrapped  in  hammocks  and  slung  to  poles ; 
oftener  they  were  simply  tied  to  the  pole,  two  or  three,  per- 
haps, together,  and  so  borne  by  two  or  four  carriers ;  child- 
corpses  were  thrown  into  shallow  trays  which  were  carried 
on  men's  heads.  By  eight  o'clock  the  stream  had  lessened  ; 
but  all  through  the  day  the  ghastly  sight  was  repeated  at 
intervals.  People  who  lived  near  the  beach  became  accus- 
tomed to  this  constant  funeral,  and  gave  little  heed  to  it. 

At  the  Lagoa  Funda  ground  the  dead  were  buried  in 
trenches,  twelve  together;  '*  unless,"  said  one  of  the  over- 
seers, ''they  come  too  fast  for  the  diggers;  then  we  put 
fifteen  or  twenty  in,  conforine.''  The  man  had  been  here  so 
long  that  he  regarded  the  bodies  as  so  many  logs.  For  my- 
self, I  was  not  yet  educated  to  this  point  ;  sick  and  faint,  I 
turned  away  from  the  horrible  trench  and  the  fetid  air.     The 


bodies  were  buried  deep,  but  under  loose  sand  ;  two  thou- 
sand of  these  trenches  were  poisoning  the  air,  and  the  stench 
was  almost  unbearable.  It  is  recorded  of  the  London  plague 
that  men  died  in  the  pits  they  were  digging  ;  here  the  work- 
men had  fallen  dead,  not  from  the  disease,  but  from  asphyxia, 
the  result  of  foul  air ;  this  happened  only  where  a  new  trench 
was  dug  near  an  old  one.  It  was  very  difficult  to  obtain  men 
for  this  service,  and  no  wonder. 

One  of  the  largest  lazarettos  was  close  by  the  gate  of  this 
cemetery;  indeed,  all  the  bodies  had  to  pass  between  two  of 
the  buildings,  and  through  the  open  windows  the  patients 
could  look  out  upon  the  endless  procession.  I  suppose  that 
they  were  too  ill  to  heed  it,  but  to  the  poor  scrtanejo  who 
saw  his  friend  brought  here,  the  hospital  must  have  been 
almost  identified  with  the  cemetery.  I  was  told  that  ninety 
per  centum  of  the  patients  died,  and  it  was  a  matter  of  con- 
venience to  have  the  burial-place  so  near. 

At  this  time  the  hospitals  were  of  little  value,  for  they 
could  not  contain  the  thirty  thousand  sick,  and  the  wards 
were  so  overcrowded  that  the  patients  received  less  care  than 
they  would  have  had  in  their  own  huts.  It  seems  probable 
to  me  that,  in  a  place  so  thoroughly  infected,  slight  cases  may 
have  been  aggravated  by  fresh  poison,  until  the  mortality 
was  greatly  increased.  Be  this  as  it  may,  the  death-rate  was 
very  high  here,  and  the  disease  assumed  its  worse  forms. 

As  in  many  other  epidemics,  the  mortality  was  greatest 
among  strong,  vigorous  men  ;  children  often  escaped.  I  was 
told  of  one  merchant  who  had  twenty-four  workmen  in  his 
employ ;  of  these,  seventeen  died  during  November  and 
December.  Another  man  had  nine  clerks  in  his  office,  of 
whom  he  lost  six  within  two  weeks.  Whole  households 
were  swept  away.      In  many  of  the  richer  families,  the  ladies 

426  BRAZIL. 

were  driven  to  the  most  menial  services,  because  their  ser- 
vants had  died,  and  it  was  impossible  to  obtain  new  ones. 
Vaccination  was  not  always  a  complete  preventive,  but  it  in- 
variably served  to  check  the  violence  of  the  disease,  so  that 
the  patient  generally  recovered.  It  was  reported — with  what 
truth  I  do  not  know — that  men  had  been  known  to  have  the 
small-pox  twice  within  a  few  months  ;  in  this  case  the  second 
attack  was  very  slight. 

When  the  small-pox  scourge  was  at  its  height,  a  strange 
and  terrible  disease  appeared  at  Fortaleza ;  by  some  this  was 
supposed  to  be  a  new  epidemic,  and  there  were  fearful  whis- 
pers of  black  plague.  It  is  probable,  however,  that  this  was 
an  aggravated  form  of  small-pox ;  it  was  characterized  by  the 
appearance  of  black  spots  on  the  body,  and  I  believe  that 
the  cases  were  invariably  fatal,  even  before  the  pustules  ap- 
peared. About  the  end  of  December,  the  wife  of  the  provin- 
cial president  was  attacked  with  this  **  black  small-pox  "  and 
died  within  two  days.* 

*  A  medical  friend  has  furnished  me  with  a  note  on  the  black  small-pox,  from 
which  I  extract  the  following  :  "  Dr.  James  Copeland,  in  his  Dictionary  of  Practical 
Medicine  (American  Edition,  1859,  vol.  iii.,  p.  894  et  seq.),  considers  that  in  this 
variety  of  small-pox  there  is  greater  contamination  and  alteration  of  the  blood  than 
in  the  ordinary  form.  He  says  :  '  The  general  appearance  of  these  cases  is  often  pe- 
culiar, and  they  are  the  most  distressing  and   frightful  manifestations  of  disease 

which   can  present  themselves  to  our   observation All  the  symptoms 

combine  to  impress  the  mind  with  the  idea  of  a  pestilence  exceeding  in  severity  and 
frightfulness  of  its  aspect  both  the  plague  and  the  yellow  fever  ;  and  to  suggest  the 
idea  of  a  general  dissolution  and  putrefaction  of  the  body,  even  before  life  has  taken 
its  departure.  This  malady  was  of  more  frequent  occurrence  formerly,  before  the 
introduction  of  inoculation  and  vaccination,  than  now,  and  was  more  common  in 
some  epidemic  visitations  than  in  others It  is  even  now  the  not  uncom- 
mon form  of  the  disease  among  the  dark  races,  especially  the  negro,  and  particularly 

when  the  distemper  spreads  by  the  inspiration  of  miasma  from  the  infected 

Dr.  Gregory  has  remarked,  what  I  have  reason  to  believe  to  be  correct :  namely, 
that  death  may  take  place  in  consequence  of  this  remarkable  condition  of  the  blood, 
before  any  unequivocal  signs  of  small-pox  are  developed."  " 

CEARA    AND    THE    DROUGHT.  427 

Amid  all  this  suffering  the  people  celebrated  the  Christ- 
mas festival,  with  music  and  feasting  and  rejoicing.  Of  the 
two  thousand  men  and  women  who  knelt  in  the  church,  prob- 
ably many  were  infected,  but  no  one  seemed  to  fear  the  con- 
tact of  a  neighbor.  Before  the  service,  some  who  were  dying 
were  brought  in  hammocks  to  the  church-door,  to  be  con- 

I  believe  that  the  priests  of  Fortaleza  did  their  duty  well, 
all  through  the  pestilence.  There  were,  indeed,  no  funeral 
services  and  few  ante-mortem  confessions  ;  the  death-harvest 
was  too  great.  But  I  often  saw  the  younger  priests  visiting 
the  worst  infected  camps,  not  with  attendants  and  gorgeous 
trappings,  but  alone,  doing  their  work  as  the  old  missionaries 
did,  in  the  face  of  danger. 

At  Pacattiba  I  found  the  state  of  affairs  even  worse  than 
at  Fortaleza.  More  than  half  the  inhabitants  were  stricken, 
and  the  daily  death-rate  was  frightful.  Here,  crawling  about 
the  railroad  station  and  begging,  were  diseased  children  ; 
here,  at  the  house  where  I  stopped,  the  servants  were  conva- 
lescent patients.  I  visited  many  huts  in  succession,  and  in 
each  there  were  from  one  to  five  sick. 

From  this  point,  almost  to  Batnr'ite\  I  rode  along  the  line 
of  the  new  railroad,  where  thousands  of  workmen  were  em- 
ployed. Here  the  change  was  as  agreeable  as  it  was  great. 
The  workmen  and  their  families  were  domiciled  in  good  bar- 
racks, and  the  sick  were  rigidly  isolated  ;  sanitary  rules  were 
enforced  to  some  extent.  Vaccination  had  been  introduced, 
and  no  well  man  was  permitted  to  be  idle.  Under  these  cir- 
cumstances, I  found  a  steady  improvement  as  I  advanced, 
until  I  felt  that  I  had  left  the  pestilence  and  its  horrors  be- 
hind me.  Then,  indeed,  the  ride  became  a  delightful  one. 
Along  the  hill-sides  there  had  been  a  few  showers,  and  the 

428  BRAZIL. 

trees,  which  had  been  bare  for  eighteen  months,  began  to 
put  out  a  few  timid  buds.  At  Baturite  there  was  running 
water,  for  the  springs  had  held  out  even  through  two  years 
of  drought ;  here  the  hill-sides,  in  many  places,  were  fresh 
and  green,  with  bright  plantations  and  tangled  forests  ;  it 
was  an  oasis  in  the  wilderness. 

At  Baturite,  when  the  drought  commenced,  there  dwelt  a 
quiet,  unassuming  man,  named  Dr.  Gomes  Pereira.  He  was 
a  lawyer,  but  practised  very  little  ;  nearly  all  his  time  was 
occupied  in  managing  his  large  estate,  for  he  was  one  of  the 
richest  men  in  the  province.  The  Government,  appreciating 
his  worth,  or  his  riches,  made  him  Proinotor  Publico ;  that 
is,  a  kind  of  general  overseer  of  all  the  public  buildings  and 
works  in  this  vicinity. 

Early  in  the  first  famine-year,  an  aid  commission  had  been 
established  at  this  place,  with  Dr.  Pereira  at  the  head  of  it. 
When  the  great  exodus  took  place,  he  worked  night  and 
day ;  when  public  money  was  wanting,  he  put  his  hand  in 
his  own  pocket,  or  bought  on  his  own  credit.  Fifteen 
thousand  people  took  refuge  here,  and  many  more  passed 
through,  on  their  way  to  the  coast.  The  first  rush  was  too 
great,  even  for  his  generosity  ;  his  credit  was  exhausted,  and 
provisions  could  not  be  brought  in  fast  enough,  so  that  even 
here,  men  died  in  the  streets.  Still  he  worked  on.  The 
Government  paid  for  the  provisions  that  he  had  bought  in  his 
own  name  in  March  and  April,  so  he  had  wealth  and  power 
yet;  they  might  have  paid  for  his  private  charities,  but  he 
would  not  let  them. 

This  gentleman,  who  did  not  bluster,  was  a  practical  man, 
and  had  the  gift  of  government.  To  the  unwieldy  mass  of 
half-wild  peasants,  he  brought  order  and  law,  so  that  this 
was   the  best-governed   camp  in  the  province.      Already,  in 



1877,  he  had  made  a  great  step  in  advance  of  the  other  aid 
commissioners.  He  saw  the  refugees  coming  in  every  day, 
begging  in  the  streets  or  receiving  food  from  the  commission, 

and  settHng  into  con- 
firmed mendicant  habits. 
He  saw  that  what  was 
charity  to  a  starving  man, 
was  moral  poison  to  a 
strong  one.      He    foresaw 

Refugees  working  on  the   Roads. 

that  these    refugees   must 

be  fed  through  long  months,  before  they  could  return  to  their 

fields.     And  he  set  them  at  work. 

He  was  Proinotor  Publico,  as  I  have  said.  He  set  five 
thousand  refugees  to  building  a  new  town  hall,  a  new  church, 
a  prison,  cleaning  streets,  cutting  roads,  what  not,  to  give 
them  honest  work.  When  the  exodus  came  he  enlarged  his 
works,  paying  always  with  rations  and  a  little  money.  There 
were  political  cries  against  him,  of  course  ;  he  could  afford  to 
laugh  at  them.  He  made  the  men  build  thatched  houses ; 
I  found  that  these  barracks  were  even  better  than  those 
I  had  seen  along  the  railroad — large,  well  ventilated,  and  a 

430  BRAZIL. 

sufficient  protection.  They  were  set  around  great  squares, 
and  in  the  middle  of  every  square  there  was  a  larger  build- 
ing which  served  as  a  kind  of  town  hall.  The  food  was 
given  in  exchange  for  labor ;  only  when  the  peasants  were 
sick,  or  old;  or  too  feeble  from  starvation  to  work,  they 
were  fed  gratuitously.  The  working  ones  received  about 
ten  cents  per  day  beyond  the  rations.  These  latter  were 
quite  as  good  as  the  peasants  were  accustomed  to  ;  mandi- 
oca-meal,  jerked  beef  and  so  on,  in  generous  measure  ;  when 
it  was  attainable,  fresh  meat ;  and  always  plenty  of  saccha- 
rine food  to  keep  off  the  scurvy. 

It  was  discovered  that  some  of  the  refugees  were  drawing 
two  or  three  rations  where  they  had  a  right  to  but  one  ;  lazy 
ones  did  not  prepare  their  food  properly ;  the  health  of  the 
people  was  affected  by  irregular  living.  The  aid  commission 
resolved  to  issue  cooked  rations.  Great  **  hotels"  were  es- 
tablished, palm-thatched  houses  like  the  barracks,  but  cover- 
ing a  quarter  of  an  acre.  Here  the  peasants  came  every  day, 
with  calabashes  or  bowls  ;  they  were  seated  in  rows,  and  the 
rations  were  served  out  to  each  in  equal  measure.  There 
was  a  separate  room  for  the  newly  arrived,  who  were  still 
weak  from  famine  ;  they  received  more  nourishing  food, 
"  until  they  get  fat  enough  to  go  with  the  rest,"  explained 
Dr.  Pereira  to  me  :  pointing  out,  with  some  pride,  the  result 
of  his  fattening  process.  In  truth,  it  was  worth  seeing,  how 
the  poor,  lean  bodies  and  sunken  eyes  and  bloodless  faces 
were  getting  life  with  their  generous  fare.  Aged  and  feeble 
ones  had  these  finer  rations  always.  Besides  the  cooked 
victuals,  each  peasant  received  a  weekly  parcel  of  coffee  and 
sugar  :  the  helpless  and  old  were  clothed,  coarsely,  but  well, 
at  Government  expense. 

There  were  two  hospitals,  one  for  women,  the  other  for 

CEARA   AND    THE   DROUGHT.  43 1 

men  :  both  in  charge  of  the  good  Dr.  Sampaio.  The  sick 
were  laid  on  clean  beds,  and  tenderly  cared  for.  But  the 
hospitals  were  not  very  full  when  I  saw  them  ;  for  what  with 
system,  and  the  enforcement  of  sanitary  rules,  and  work  in 
place  of  disease-feeding  idleness,  the  epidemic  all  but  disap- 
peared. Small-pox  came,  as  it  did  in  Fortaleza  ;  but  the 
commission  was  quick  with  the  preventive  ;  Dr.  Pereira  vac- 
cinated fifteen  hundred  refugees  with  his  own  hand  ;  the  sick 
were  isolated  in  a  special  hospital,  two  miles  out  of  town  ; 
and  so  effective  were  these  measures  that  the  disease  almost 
disappeared.  In  December  of  this  year  the  daily  death-rate 
at  Baturite  was  one  in  three  thousand ;  and  the  most  of  these 
cases  were  among  the  new  arrivals.  In  Fortaleza,  at  the 
same  time,  the  rate  went  as  high  as  one  in  ninety,  and  at 
Pacatuba  it  was  one  in  thirty. 

Another  feature  at  Baturite  was  the  forming  of  schools. 
These  were  for  boys  alone  ;  among  the  Brazilian  poor,  girls 
are  hardly  ever  educated.  The  boys  were  taught  to  read 
and  write,  and  some  of  them  to  cipher.  The  schools  were 
held  in  the  thatched  town  halls  of  which  I  have  spoken.  The 
pupils  sat  on  one  long  bench,  dirty  and  unkempt  and  bare- 
legged ;  for  these  Ceara  peasant-boys  wear  only  a  cotton 
shirt,  and  that,  I  think,  is  never  washed.  The  boys  were 
obliged  to  wash  their  faces  ;  that  was  as  far  as  cleanliness 
could  go  among  the  refugees.  Whatever  else  Dr.  Pereira 
did,  he  never  succeeded  in  making  the  peasants  wash  their 

Bare-legged  and  dirty,  the  boys  were  getting  their  little 
leaven  of  civilization,  which  will  be  felt  in  after  years.  You 
cannot  catch  these  Arabs  and  turn  them  at  once  into  enlight- 
ened people  ;  it  will  take  generations  of  schoolmasters  to  do 
that.     But  somewhere  you   must  begin.      Future  statesmen 

432  BRAZIL. 

these  were  not ;  they  will  be  peasants,  like  their  fathers,  but 
a  shade  better,  a  shade  less  dirty,  because  of  this  good  deed. 
And  deeds,  good  or  bad,  are  never  lost,  any  more  than  mat- 
ter and  force  are  ;  keep  that  in  your  souls,  O  ye  thousands 
of  silent  masters  ! 

I  think  now  of  Dr.  Pereira,  the  plain  man,  the  hero  of 
deed  without  bluster  :  I  think  of  my  friend  as  I  saw  him  in 
that  great,  unfinished  shed,  with  the  bare-legged  peasant- 
boys,  and  the  peasant  school-teacher.  The  boys  stood  up  in 
a  row  out  of  respect  for  their  visitors ;  the  summer  breeze 
came  in  under  the  eaves,  and  through  the  open  door ;  it 
tossed  the  rough  locks,  and  played  with  the  dirty  shirts  ;  it 
fanned  our  cheeks  coolly,  and  brought  us  wafts  from  the  yet 
green  mountain-woods.  Do  you  think  that  this  quiet  man, 
in  the  palm-thatched  school-house,  deserved  less  praise  than 
the  heroes  who  telegraph  "  enemy's  loss  was  immense  ;  "  or 
whoop  over  their  hundredth  scalp-lock  ? 

We  rode  about  Baturite  to  see  the  public  works  that  were 
being  carried  on  with  these  peasant  laborers.  "The  com- 
mission does  thus  and  so  ;  the  commission  plans  that,"  said 
Dr.  Pereira  ;  but  everywhere  the  workmen  came  with  '^  Sen- 
hor  the  Doctor,  how  is  this  to  be  done?"  "  Senhor  the 
Doctor,  where  shall  we  place  that?  "  *'  Senhor  the  Doctor, 
will  you  hear  my  grievance,  and  mine?"  "Will  you  give 
us  such  and  such  favors  ?  "  Oh  !  it  was  easy  enough  to  see 
the  master-mind.  The  peasants  knew  ;  and  they  knew  whose 
was  the  kindest  heart  in  the  village,  whose  ear  was  readiest, 
whose  purse  was  longest.  The  Doctor  wrote  orders  on 
scraps  of  paper  :  **  Give  this  man  so  much  coffee  ;  "  "  Supply 
rations  for  these  new-comers;"  '*  Set  the  bearer  at  work 
in  such  a  place."  He  went  to  the  great  kitchen  (apologiz- 
ing for  taking  so  much  of  my  time,  forsooth  !)  and  there  he 

CEARA   AND    THE    DROUGHT.  433 

must  taste  the  rice  and  meat,  examine  the  mandioca-meal, 
question  the  cook.  Then  again  to  the  cemetery,  the  prison 
(he  was  Promotor  Publico,  yet,  you  must  remember),  where 
everything  had  to  come  under  his  eyes.  So  I  perceived  that 
this  man  had  found  a  grand  truth :  "  If  you  want  a  thing  well 
done,  see  to  it  yourself." 

The  peasants  crowded  around  him,  sometimes  to  make 
requests,  oftener  to  look  at  him  only  ;  if  he  dismounted  for  a 
moment,  a  dozen  ready  hands  were  there  to  hold  the  bridle  ; 
the  children  stretched  out  their  hands  for  a  blessing ;  the  sick 
smiled  when  he  passed  by.  And  with  the  poor  folk,  as  with 
the  rich,  you  can  tell  in  a  moment  whether  a  man  be  obse- 
quious or  good-willed  ;  your  Ceara  peasant  is  a  wonderfully 
transparent  fellow,  in  his  way. 

Such  unwritten  tragedies  as  there  were  under  these  rags  ! 
We  found  one  woman  weeping  quietly  ;  a  bronzed,  muscular 
woman  this  was,  but  her  rags  were  clean,  and  she  had  four 
little  black-eyed  children,  as  pretty,  with  their  bare  legs,  as 
your  darlings  are,  good  madame,  and  as  intelligent-looking  ; 
none  the  less  praise  for  school-rooms  and  books,  and  neat 
shoes  and  stockings.  Our  bronzed  woman  was  crying,  and 
Dr.  Pereira  went  and  spoke  to  her  at  once.  **  What  is  the 
matter  ?  "  said  he. 

All  the  floodgates  gave  way  then,  and  this  peasant  woman 
sobbed  and  sobbed  with  the  grief  of  her  torn  heart.  The 
Doctor  waited  quietly  and  gravely  ;  he  was  used  to  such 
scenes.      "  What  is  it  ?  "  he  asked,  at  length. 

The  woman  had  just  come  from  the  interior.  Her  hus- 
band, a  Portuguese  immigrant,  had  been  a  farmer  in  a  small 
way  ;  he  was  very  kind  to  her.  They  clung  to  the  little  farm 
all  through  this  long  drought,  until  October  ;  then  they  could 

yet    leave   their   home   with   a   horse  to   carry  the   children. 

434  BRAZIL. 

"  But,"  she  sobbed,  "  the  horse  died,  and  then  my  husband 
was  hungry  and  sick,  and  he  died;  and  the  children,  they 
had  nothing  to  eat,  and  two  of  them  died,  and  I  buried  them 
by  the  road  and  put  a  cross  over  them  ;  and  now  I  pray  for 
their  souls.  We  have  been  here  three  weeks,  and  we  have 
enough  to  eat,  thank  God ;  the  children  are  growing  fat ; 
look,  your  honor  !  "  and  she  caught  the  youngest  and  kissed 
it,  as  you,  madame,  will  kiss  your  pretty  one  when  the  father 
goes.  "We  thank  God,  we  do,"  wept  this  mother;  "and 
you  mustn't  mind  if  I  cry  sometimes.  We  were  so  happy 
in  the  good  years." 

"  Come  to  my  house  this  afternoon,"  said  Dr.  Pereira. 
That  was  all  ;  but  in  the  afternoon  this  family  had  clothes  to 
put  on  in  the  place  of  their  rags,  and  they  had  a  hearty  din- 
ner of  fresh  meat,  and  kind  words  from  kind  hearts,  and  an 
assurance  that  they  would  be  looked  after.  A  small  matter, 
think  you  ?  But  this  family  had  nothing  in  the  world  ;  not 
even  clothes,  but  only  rags. 

They  were  not  the  only  visitors  that  afternoon ;  the  Doc- 
tor was  busy  always  with  new-comers  ;  it  was  only  toward 
night  that  he  could  get  an  hour  of  rest.  Quiet  he  was,  al- 
ways, governing  the  fifteen  thousand  under  his  charge. 

In  the  evening,  I  remember,  there  was  a  procession  of 
some  kind  going  up  to  the  church  ;  the  crowd  of  peasants 
cheered  lustily  as  they  passed  the  Doctor's  window  ;  but  he 
kept  back  in  the  shade,  while  the  rest  of  us  looked  out  at  the 
crowd  in  the  torchlight.  Brave-hearted,  pure-hearted  friend  ! 
When  he  rode  over  the  hill  with  me  in  the  early  morning, 
and  said  good-by,  because  he  must  go  back  to  his  refugees, 
did  I  not  vow  that  this  hero  should  be  known,  and  his  deeds 
appreciated  ? 

All  over  Ceara  there   was  weakness,   official  incapacity, 


official  sin.  At  Rio  there  was  dawdling,  and  trifling  with  the 
famine  question  ;  and  five  hundred  thousand  Hves  paid  for  it 
all.  In  Baturite,  there  was  one  good  man,  one  general  who 
did  not  kill  people,  but  saved  them  from  being  killed  ;  one 
man,  in  God's  image  and  after  God's  own  heart.  Better  that 
I  should  leave  him  there  in  his  happy  obscurity.  But  a  good 
deed  told  is  the  leaven  of  a  thousand  other  good  deeds. 
Feebly  I  have  told  ;  strongly,  nobly  this  great  man  worked. 
He  saved  ten  thousand  lives,  and  he  does  not  know  at  this 
day  that  he  has  done  anything  remarkable.  That  is  the 
crown  of  his  greatness. 


DOWN     THE     COAST. 

FROM  the  roadstead  at  Fortaleza,  the  flat-topped  moun- 
tain of  Pacatuba  is  plainly  visible,  and  for  an  hour 
after  we  leave  the  anchorage,  it  still  appears  dimly,  a  con- 
stant landmark.  As  we  steam  on  toward  the  east,  we  catch 
glimpses  of  other  hills,  far  from  the  shore  ;  but  these  disap- 
pear after  the  first  day  ;  then  there  are  only  white  sand- 
ridges,  lining  the  coast  for  hundreds  of  miles. 

Rarely  we  descry  fishing-huts  by  the  water's  edge,  and 
jangadaSy  sailing-rafts  like  chips,  pass  close  under  the  rail. 
Beyond  these,  we  see  no  signs  of  life  except  at  Rio  Grande 
do  Norte y  where  there  is  a  fort,  and  farther  back  a  town  with 
white  church-towers  appearing  over  the  sand-hills.  We  have 
to  endure  the  customary  delay  here,  while  mails  are  ex- 
changed ;  a  Brazilian  postmaster  does  nothing  in  a  hurry, 
and  commerce  and  pleasure  alike  must  await  his  convenience. 

The  next  stopping-place  is  at  Parahyba.  The  town  is  on 
the  Parahyba  river,  some  four  or  five  miles  back  from  the 
sea,  and  only  light-draught  vessels  can  ascend  thus  far.  Our 
steamer  passes  up  two  miles  with  the  high  tide,  and  we  go  on 
to  the  city  in  a  boat,  while  the  captain  prudently  orders  the 
vessel  back  to  an  anchorage  outside  the  bar. 

Parahyba  is  a  sleepy  little  country  city,  the  capital  of  a 

DOWN   THE   COAST.  437 

small  province,  and  deriving  some  commercial  importance 
from  its  exports  of  sugar.  The  sugar-plantations  are  on  the 
lowlands  near  the  river  ;  farther  back,  the  country  is  dry 
and  sandy,  like  that  of  Ceara.  Here,  too,  the  drought  was 
felt  severely,  and  from  the  interior,  thousands  of  refugees 
flocked  to  the  river,  encamping  about  the  city  as  at  Forta- 
leza.  The  rest  of  the  story  is  told  me  with  ghastly  brevity 
by  a  Parahyba  merchant. 

'*  How  many  rettraiites  came  here  ?  "  I  ask. 

**  About  twenty  thousand." 

"  Did  they  emigrate  ?     I  see  none  here  now." 

**  No,  sir.      Very  few  emigrated  from  this  place." 

"  Have  they  gone  back  to  the  sertao  ?  " 

"  That  is  impossible  ;  the  sertao  is  uninhabitable." 

"  What  became  of  them,  then  ?  " 

"They  died." 

Starvation  and  pestilence  did  their  work  well  here.  I 
know  not  how  many  are  left  of  the  twenty  thousand  ;  some, 
let  us  suppose,  have  found  work  on  the  surrounding  planta- 
tations,  and  some  are  in  the  city  yet.  But  on  all  sides  we 
hear  the  same  story:  **  They  died."  The  scourge  did  not 
fall  on  Ceara  alone.  Eight  provinces,  at  least,  were  stricken, 
and  in  every  one  there  were  famine-deaths."^ 

I  fear  that  the  periodical  droughts  of  the  sertao  will  long 
be  a  barrier  to  its  colonization.  Much  might  be  done  to 
lessen  the  evil,  by  proper  systems  of  irrigation,  by  forming 
reservoirs  and  artificial  lakes,  or  by  sinking  artesian  wells. 
But  all  these  works  are  expensive,   and   few  Brazilians  will 

*I  have  no  data  on  which  to  base  a  calculation  of  the  total  mortality;  but  it 
is  certain  that  many  of  these  provinces  suffered  terribly.  More  than  a  fourth  of 
the  population  of  Brazil  was  affected  by  the  drought,  and  the  number  of  deaths 
can  hardly  have  been  less  than  three  hundred  thousand,  outside  of  Ceara. 

438  BRAZIL. 

trouble  themselves  to  guard  against  a  possible  evil  as  long  as 
they  can  enjoy  present  prosperity.  Even  the  terrible  lesson 
they  have  received  will  be  remembered  only  as  a  thing  of  the 
past,  and  not  as  a  warning  for  the  future.  The  next  great 
drought  may  come  a  hundred  years  hence,  when  the  popula- 
tion is  twice  or  three  times  as  great  as  it  was  in  1876.  I 
dare  not  think  of  the  possible  result  of  such  a  calamity.  It 
may  be  that  men  will  be  wiser  before  that  time  ;  that  the 
future  historian  may  not  have  to  write  of  pestilence  brought 
on  by  culpable  neglect — of  thousands  sacrificed  to  official  in- 
action and  official  greed. 

South  of  Parahyba,  the  coast  country  is  well  watered  ; 
secure  even  from  the  terrible  seccas.  The  fertile  land  forms 
a  strip,  generally  about  thirty  miles  wide,  and  covered,  where 
it  has  not  been  cleared,  with  heavy  forest.*  Pernambiico 
owes  its  prosperity  to  this  forest-region,  as  well  as  to  its  po- 
sition, almost  at  the  eastern  extremity  of  South  America, 
where  Brazil  is  nearest  to  the  great  commercial  centres  of 
Europe.  Unfortunately,  the  city  has  a  very  indifferent  har- 
bor. The  commercial  portion  of  the  town  is  fronted  by  a 
stone  reef,  within  which  schooners  and  barks  of  limited 
draught  can  pass  ;  but  large  ocean  steamers  have  to  anchor 
in  the  roadstead,  two  or  three  miles  out.  Here  freight  is 
transferred  to  lighters,  and  passengers  scramble  down  the 
sides  to  dancing  boats,  at  no  small  hazard  of  life  and  limb. 
However,  we  are  spared  this  ordeal ;  at  high  tide  our  little 
steamer  passes  behind  the  reef  to  the  inner  anchorage, 
whence  we  can  reach  the  shore  in  two  or  three  minutes. 

The  reef  looks  much  like  an  artificial  breakwater  ;  from 
end  to  end,  it  forms  almost  a  straight  line,  and  the  height  is 

*  Hence  this  region  is  often  distinguished  as  mato,  forest,  and  the  peasants  who 
inhabit  it  are  called  matntos. 



very  uniform — about  ten  or  twelve  feet  above  high  water. 
At  the  northern  end  there  is  a  curious  round  tower  or  fort, 
dating  back  to  the  colonial  times.  Over  the  reef  and  against 
the  tower  the  surf  -^nshes  wildly,  sending  showers  of  spray  to 
the  still  water  within  ;  when  the  swell  is  heavy  there  is  a 
grand  battle  here,  with  great  banners  of  white  tossing  against 

The   Reef  at   Pernambuco. 

the  sky.  Within,  the  water  is  always  smooth  ;  the  narrow 
space  is  crowded  with  vessels,  large  and  small,  and  the  con- 
stant movement  tells  of  commercial  life  and  activity. 

Pernambuco  is  made  up  of  two  cities.  The  older  portion 
occupies  the  end  of  a  long,  narrow  peninsula,  known  as  Re- 
cife, the  Reef,  though  the  reef  proper,  as  we  have  seen,  is 
farther  out.  Between  the  peninsula  and  the  main-land  there 
is  a  long  creek  or  bay,  the  continuation  of  the  harbor.  The 
upper  portion  of  this  creek  is  shallow,  but  about  the  end  of 

440  BRAZIL. 

the  peninsula  it  is  deep  enough  to  float  schooners  and  small 
barks,  which  receive  and  discharge  their  cargoes  at  the  city 
wharves.  Hence,  the  exporting  and  wholesale  business  is 
confined  to  the  peninsula  and  to  the  opposite  shores  of  the 
main-land,  where  the  other  portion  of  the  city  lies.  Two  or 
three  bridges  connect  this  division  with  the  old  town. 

Pernambuco  commercial  life  centres  about  the  water-front 
at  Recife,  directly  opposite  the  stone  reef.  Here  there  is  a 
little  open  space,  which  the  merchants,  with  commendable 
good  taste,  have  left  unobstructed.  Rows  of  trees  form  a 
shady  promenade,  and  the  benches  about  their  roots  are 
favorite  lounging-places.  The  space  is  not  much  larger  than 
a  good-sized  door-yard,  but  it  gives  an  oddly  rural  feature  to 
this  part  of  the  city  ;  a  combination  of  repose  and  active 
business  as  different  as  possible  from  Para  and  Rio.  Over 
all  there  is  the  dinginess  that  is  common  to  most  water-fronts, 
brightened  here  by  the  handsome  building  of  the  Commer- 
cial Association  at  one  end  of  the  common. 

The  streets  of  Recife  are  very  narrow  and  very  crooked, 
with  houses  so  high  that  they  almost  cut  off  the  light.  Many 
of  these  buildings  are  nearly  as  old  as  the  city  itself,  dating 
back  to  the  times  of  the  Dutch  occupancy  in  the  seventeenth 
century.  In  the  more  ancient  houses  there  are  traces  of 
Dutch  or  Flemish  architecture,  and  this  is  still  more  evident 
in  some  of  the  older  churches  and  monasteries,  both  in  Re- 
cife and  in  the  main  city.  A  somewhat  more  modern  cast 
marks  the  Portuguese  reoccupancy,  and  from  that  time  a 
series  of  changes  can  be  traced,  until  the  ancient  forms  are 
lost  altogether  and  the  modern  Frenchified,  no-architec- 
ture, takes  their  place.  Of  this  latter,  very  little  is  seen  in 

The  city's  story  has  left  other  marks  on  these  old  walls. 

DOWN   THE    COAST.  441 

Some  of  the  houses  have  loop-holes,  opening  on  the  street ; 
some  are  pitted  with  bullet-marks,  which  tell  of  the  hot  street 
battles  of  1845.  Perhaps  the  political  wars  of  these  later 
times  have  left  a  deeper  impress  on  the  people  themselves. 
Now,  as  then,  they  are  jealous  of  the  Central  Government  at 
Rio  ;  underlying  their  love  of  peace  and  order,  and  their 
steady  patriotism,  there  is  a  constant  feeling  of  discontent, 
only  half-concealed.  They  complain,  with  much  reason,  that 
Rio  draws  all  prosperity  to  herself;  that  the  northern  prov- 
inces are  taxed  to  build  railroads,  public  buildings,  what  not, 
for  the  southern  provinces  ;  that  the  Government  will  not 
improve  their  harbor  because  it  fears  a  too  powerful  rival 
for  the  metropolis.  I  do  not  think  that  this  spirit  will  ever 
again  break  out  in  open  rebellion,  but  it  is  doing  its  silent 
work.  Pernambuco  is  the  better  for  this  lack  of  government 
coddling.  Her  merchants  are  more  enterprising  and  quick- 
sighted,  her  people  are  more  independent,  and  intelligent, 
and  generous  in  all  public  works.  Politically,  the  northern 
province  may  never  be  independent ;  but  it  is  achieving  its 
social  and  commercial  independence  even  now.  Time  will 
come  when  Pernambuco  will  attend  to  her  own  railroads  and 
harbor- walls — and  attend  to  them  better  and  more  wisely 
than  the  Central  Government  ever  could. 

The  principal  bridge  from  Recife  to  the  main-land  is  a 
modern  and  handsome  one  of  iron ;  passing  from  the  narrow, 
old-fashioned  streets,  one  is  a  little  astonished  to  find  such  a 
structure,  and  still  more  surprised  at  the  utter  change  from 
the  old  to  the  new  city.  Beyond  the  bridge,  the  streets  are 
wide  and  straight,  with  horse-cars,  and  broad,  well-paved 
sidewalks,  and  spruce  modern  houses  on  either  side.  Some 
of  the  public  buildings  are  remarkably  handsome,  and  they 
are  so  placed,  about  open  spaces  and  on  the  water-front,  that 

442  BRAZIL. 

they  have  a  really  imposing  effect.  Many  of  the  streets  and 
squares  would  do  credit  to  any  northern  city. 

It  is  only  justice  to  the  Pernambucans  to  add  that  the 
good  features  of  the  city  are  not  all  on  the  outside.  The 
market  building  is  finer  than  any  in  New  York,  and  the 
interior  arrangement  is  admirable.  The  jail  is  a  model  of 
order  and  neatness,  comparing  most  favorably  with  other 
provincial  prisons.  There  is  a  small  but  well-selected  city 
library  ;  the  government  engineers  and  surveyors  have  finely 
appointed  offices,  and  they  do  much  good  work.  So  far  as 
my  own  observation  goes,  the  public  service  of  Pernambuco 
is  better  than  that  of  any  other  port  of  Brazil.  There  is  less 
political  squabbling  here,  less  dishonesty  and  pilfering,  far 
less  mismanagement  than  at  Rio  and  Para. 

A  stranger  can  hardly  fail  to  draw  favorable  comparisons 
between  Pernambuco  and  the  southern  cities.  The  Govern- 
ment officers  are  courteous  and  ready  to  bear  with  the  mis- 
takes of  a  foreigner.  If  we  have  occasion  to  enter  a  store, 
we  are  received  with  politeness  ;  prices  are  reasonable,  and, 
in  general,  we  need  have  little  fear  of  being  cheated.  A 
passer-by  will  readily  give  us  information  about  the  streets, 
and  even  go  out  of  the  way  to  show  us  our  road.  In  social 
life  we  find  that  frankness  and  hospitality  that  characterize  all 
the  northern  provinces,  widely  separating  their  people  from 
those  of  southern  Brazil. 

There  is  a  railroad  from  the  city  to  the  beautiful  sea-side 
suburb  of  Oli7ida.  This  is  an  older  town  even  than  Recife  ; 
in  fact,  it  was  the  original  metropolis,  and  it  is  still  the  ec- 
clesiastical capital,  retaining  the  cathedral  and  bishop's  resi- 
dence. There  are  quaint  old  houses  of  the  Dutch  times  ; 
three  or  four  ancient  churches  and  monasteries  are  scattered 
about  the  green  headland,  from  whence  there  is  a  fine  view 

DOWN   THE    COAST.  443 

over  the  sea,  and  southward  to  the  city.  Along  the  beach 
there  are  modern  hotels  and  cottages  and  pavilions  ;  the  Per- 
nambucans  often  reside  here  for  weeks  together,  to  enjoy  the 
fresh  air  and  the  fine  sea-bathing.  Every  pleasant  evening 
brings  crowds  of  excursionists  to  Olinda.  Ladies  and  gen- 
tlemen stroll  about  the  beach,  listening  to  very  good  music 
from  the  pavilions  ;  convivial  parties  sit  at  tables  before  the 
hotels ;  there  is  much  drinking  of  mild  beer  and  strong  coffee 
and  brandy.  Altogether,  it  is  a  smaller  edition  of  Coney 
Island  or  Brighton.  As  for  the  bathing,  that  is  almost  con- 
fined to  the  early  morning  ;  people  take  their  daily  plunge, 
as  they  would  medicine,  by  the  doctor's  order,  and  the  baths 
must  never  vary  from  prescribed  numbers  and  times. 

We  have  glimpses  of  unceremonious  country  life,  during 
our  visits  to  the  sugar-plantations  back  of  the  city.  To  reach 
these,  we  take  the  little  Caxangd  railroad  to  its  terminus, 
eight  or  ten  miles  from  the  city  ;  there  saddle-horses  are 
hired,  and  we  gallop  off  through  an  open,  rolling  country, 
with  small  plantations  on  either  side,  and  thickets  of  tangled 
second  growth,  and  strange  barrigiido  palms  here  and  there.* 
An  hour's  ride  brings  us  to  the  sugar-plantations  ;  some  of 
them  are  in  the  rich  bottom-lands,  but  the  best  are  on  hill- 
sides, generally  planted  in  small  patches,  where  the  land  is 
fitted  for  a  strong  growth.  We  are  on  a  private  road  now, 
which  leads  through  two  or  three  estates,  until  we  reach  our 
destination  ;  a  fine,  large  country-house,  with  the  sugar-mill 
near  by,  and  negro  quarters  beyond. 

The  proprietor — a  tall,  wiry-looking  man,  very  much  like 
an  American  in  appearance — greets  us  with  bluff  cordiality  ; 
introductions  over,  he  invites  us  into  the  mill-house,  where 

*  Attalea,  sp.  ? 

444  BRAZIL. 

we  spend  an  hour  in  examining  the  complicated  modern  ma- 
chinery. Our  host  explains  the  different  portions  with  a 
little  pardonable  pride  in  the  establishment,  one  of  the  finest 
of  its  kind  in  Brazil.  After  that,  he  takes  us  away  to  the 
house,  where  we  are  duly  presented  to  the  ladies,  and  made 
to  regale  ourselves  at  a  table,  which  might  do  for  a  New 
England  Thanksgiving  dinner.  Then,  no  one  will  hear  of 
our  leaving  to-night ;  all  our  excuses  are  overruled,  and,  in- 
deed, we  are  not  loath  to  improve  our  acquaintance  with  the 
family.  The  evening  is  passed,  as  it  might  be  at  an  Ameri- 
can home,  with  music  and  conversation  and  draught-playing. 
The  ladies — some  of  them  are  young,  and  very  pretty  too — 
are  unrestrained,  except  by  their  own  sense  of  what  is  right 
and  womanly;  in  Pernambuco,  ladies  of  the  better  classes 
are  almost  entirely  emancipated  from  the  stupid  Portuguese 
customs  ;  if  they  do  not  have  the  freedom  of  American  wo- 
men, it  is  because  these  better  families  form  only  a  small 
percentage  of  the  population;  and  the  modern  customs,  how- 
ever they  may  be  admired  in  private  circles,  are  not  yet  ad- 
mitted in  public. 

Our  host  has  a  good  library  of  French  and  Portuguese 
works,  and  he  is  eager  for  information.  In  his  younger  days 
he  travelled  in  Europe,  studying  at  Coimbra  and  Paris.  Re- 
turning to  Pernambuco,  he  married  and  settled  down  hap- 
pily on  his  fine  plantation.  Most  of  the  labor  here  is  free. 
There  are  about  fifteen  negroes,  but  no  servants  could  be 
better  treated,  and  the  master  shares  the  almost  universal 
Pernambucan  spirit  of  hatred  to  slavery  ;  if  he  does  not  free 
his  own  people,  he  steadily  refuses  to  buy  more,  although  he 
would  gain  much,  materially,  by  doing  so.  And  this  man 
is  not  alone  ;  he  is  one  of  a  small,  but  rising  and  influen- 
tial class  of  planters,  who  are  worth  more  to  Brazil  than  all 

DOWN   THE    COAST.  445 

her  theorizing  statesmen  and  grand  immigration  schemes  ;  for 
they  are  showing  her  capabiHties,  by  raising  the  agricultur- 
ist to  his  true  level.  Such  characters  do  not  thrive  in  the 
southern  provinces,  where  slavery  degrades  everything  ;  but 
there  are  some,  even  there.  Here  at  Pernambuco,  they  have 
much  in  their  favor — custom,  institutions,  public  opinion  ; 
above  all,  the  absence  of  competition  from  overgrown  plan- 
tations. So  here  they  thrive,  and  are  likely  soon  to  be  a 
power  in  the  state. 

The  older  method  of  sugar-making,  which  is  still  followed 
on  most  of  the  Pernambuco  plantations,  is  very  crude.  The 
cane-juice,  first  purified  with  lime,  is  boiled  in  large,  open 
evaporators,  or  in  successive  iron  kettles  ;  when  it  has  at- 
tained the  required  consistency,  it  is  allowed  to  cool,  and  is 
then  ready  for  the  dripping-jars.  These  jars  are  about  thirty 
inches  deep,  and  twelve  inches  in  diameter  at  the  top  ;  the 
bottom  is  rounded,  so  that  the  jar  has  something  the  shape 
of  a  Minie-rif^e  bullet  ;  it  terminates  in  a  hole  about  three 
inches  in  diameter.  This  hole  is  closed  with  a  plug  of  cane- 
refuse,  and  the  jar  is  filled  with  about  two  hundred  pounds 
of  melada  from  the  kettles.  Frequently  three  hundred  or 
more  jars  are  set  on  frames  in  the  sugar-house  ;  this  house 
has  a  stone  floor,  inclined  everywhere  to  a  reservoir  at  the 
centre,  where  the  drippings  of  molasses  are  collected.  The 
jars  are  allowed  to  stand  for  twenty  days,  after  which  the 
plugs  are  removed,  and  the  molasses  which  has  collected  at 
the  bottom  is  drained  away.  The  result  is  unclayed  or 
muscovado  sugar,  a  very  inferior  brown  grade.  If  finer 
grades  are  required,  the  contents  of  the  jar,  after  this  first 
draining,  are  thoroughly  stirred,  and  covered  with  cakes  of 
wet  clay  ;  water,  in  small  quantities,  is  poured  over  the  clay  ; 
it  percolates  through  the  jar  slowly,  washing  the  sugar  and 

446  BRAZIL. 

carrying  away  the  molasses  beneath.  After  two  weeks,  the 
sugar  is  removed  in  successive  layers,  those  at  the  top  being 
nearly  white,  while  those  beneath  are  successively  of  inferior 
quality  to  the  bottom  of  the  jar.  The  difference  of  quality 
may  be  seen  in  the  market  prices  ;  for  example,  in  Decem- 
ber, 1878,  the  highest  grades  of  clayed  sugars  were  sold 
in  Pernambuco  for  about  4,500  reis  *  per  fifteen  kilograms; 
while  the  lower  grades  brought  no  more  than  1,600  reis.t 
The  white  upper  layers  are  generally  shipped  to  Rio  and 
Lisbon,  where  they  take  the  place  of  refined  sugar ;  the 
lower  qualities  go  to  the  United  States  and  England,  and 
are  improved  by  refining,  as  required. 

The  modern  process,  employed  by  our  host  at  the  Sao 
Francisco  plantation,  is  far  more  complicated.  Steam  en- 
gines are  used  here.  Cane-juice  from  the  ponderous  iron 
cane-mills  is  pumped  into  a  reservoir,  where  it  is  purified 
with  lime  and  carefully  strained.  Thence  it  is  passed  to 
evaporating-pans  and  boiled  for  three  hours,  until  it  is  re- 
duced to  a  pretty  thick  syrup.  Now  it  is  run  into  the 
vacuum-pans,  and  boiled,  under  a  reduced  pressure  and  at 
a  low  heat,  for  eight  or  ten  hours  longer.  This  process 
leaves  the  sugar  well  crystallized,  but  mixed  with  molas- 
ses. The  sticky  mass  from  the  evaporating-pans  is  placed 
in  centrifugal  wheels,  cylinders  two  feet  in  diameter,  the 
sides  of  which  are  closely  perforated  with  minute  holes,  like 
a  strainer.  The  wheels  are  made  to  revolve  at  the  rate 
of  fifteen  hundred  to  eighteen  hundred  times  per  minute; 
this  rapid  motion  throws  the  sugar  against  the  sides,  and  the 
molasses  flies  off  through  the  holes.  A  jet  of  water,  and 
subsequently  one  of  steam,   are  turned  into  the  wheel,  and 

At  par  value.  $2.25.  t  Eighty  cents. 

DOWN    THE    COAST.  447 

the  sugar  is  thus  washed  until  it  becomes  perfectly  white. 
Two  or  three  minutes  suffice  for  the  whole  process  ;  the 
sugar  is  taken  out,  dried  in  the  sun,  and  pulverized  in  a 
small  machine.  The  molasses  from  the  wheels  is  reboiled, 
yielding  a  high  grade  of  brown  sugar  ;  the  second  molasses 
is  sold  to  distillers,  by  whom  it  is  made  into  rum.  The  fine 
white  sugar  produced  at  Sao  Francisco  is,  in  fact,  of  a  refined 
grade  ;  sent  to  the  United  States  or  Europe,  it  is  liable  to 
the  heavy  duty  imposed  on  refined  sugars  generally.  Our 
refiners,  of  course,  are  anxious  to  have  this  duty  retained, 
because  without  it  the  centrifugal  sugar  is  likely  to  ruin  their 
industry.  The  planters,  on  the  other  hand,  favor  duties 
founded  on  the  actual  amount  of  saccharine  matter  in  the 
sugar,  without  reference  to  its  color.  This  is,  in  fact,  another 
phase  of  the  endless  dispute  between  **  protection  "  and 
**free  trade  ;  "  a  dispute  which  will  last  as  long  as  custom- 
houses do.  It  may  mean  very  little  to  you  or  me,  but  to  our 
host  at  Sao  Francisco  it  is  a  question  of  paramount  impor- 
tance. At  present  he  can  dispose  of  his  refined  sugar  to  city 
customers,  but  as  other  improved  mills  spring  up,  this  local 
demand  will  be  over-supplied,  and  the  sugar  will  have  to  be 
sold  at  a  reduced  price. 

The  commercial  importance  of  Pernambuco  depends 
largely  on  the  sugar  industry.  All  day  you  may  see  trains 
of  horses  coming  down  to  Recife,  each  with  two  sacks  of 
sugar  slung  from  its  back,  a  sticky  mass.  In  the  ware- 
houses, negro  porters  are  employed  to  carry  the  sacks  (each 
containing  one  hundred  and  sixty-six  pounds)  on  their  heads. 
They  work  naked  to  the  waist,  the  perspiration  and  molasses 
mingling  in  little  streams  on  their  shoulders.  Great  mounds 
of  sugar  are  formed  in  the  storehouses,  over  which  the  por- 
ters climb,  until  a  squeamish  man  is  ready  to  abjure  sugar 



for  the  rest  of  his  life.  It  must  be  remembered,  however, 
that  most  of  this  mass  is  cleansed  and  refined  before  it 
reaches  the  consumer. 

From  Pernambuco  to  Bahia,  the  coast-line  becomes  more 
irregular  and  picturesque.  After  passing  the  mouth  of  the 
Sao  Francisco,  hills  begin  to  appear  ;    the  land  is  higher,  and 

Bahia,   from  the    Hill. 

there  are  little  bays  and  head-lands,  taking  the  place  of  the 
monotonous  sand-beaches  which  extend  from  Maranhao  to 

The  harbor  of  Bahia  is  only  inferior  to  that  of  Rio.  It  is 
very  extensive,  deep  enough  for  the  largest  steamers,  and 
the  entrance  is  wide  and  unobstructed.  On  either  side  there 
are  low  hills,  with  green  woods  and  meadows,  and  curious 
buildings  and  forts  here  and  there.  The  city  itself  is  on  the 
eastern  side  of  the  bay,  near  the  entrance  ;  the  main  business 

DOWN   THE   COAST.  449 

portion  is  built  on  the  ground,  by  the  water-side  ;  the  rest 
of  the  town  is  on  a  bluff,  three  or  four  hundred  feet  above 
the  bay. 

Of  all  Brazilian  cities  this  is  the  most  picturesque.  In  the 
lower  town  the  streets  are  narrow,  with  antiquated  buildings, 
dating  back  to  the  sixteenth  century,  and  covered  with  the 
mould  of  years.  Lazy  negroes  lounge  at  every  corner  ;  fruit- 
women,  with  gayly-colored  shawls  over  their  shoulders,  nod 
in  the  sun  before  their  heaped-up  trays  ;  queer  little  plodding 
donkeys  and  horses  jostle  each  other  at  the  turnings  ;  por- 
ters with  sedan-chairs  pass  through  the  streets  at  a  dog-trot; 
everywhere  there  is  an  atmosphere  of  antiquity  and  repose. 
The  upper  town  is  less  ancient,  but  the  preponderance  of 
negro  figures,  and  their  odd  costumes,  seen  to  perfection 
here,  give  the  place  a  character  of  its  own.  The  upper  and 
lower  towns  are  connected  by  a  ponderous  steam-elevator, 
from  the  top  of  which  there  is  a  magnificent  view  over  the 

Bahia  exports  large  quantities  of  tobacco  and  sugar,  with 
hides,  cotton,  a  little  coffee,  and  not  a  few  diamonds.  The 
city  has  monopolized  the  tobacco-trade  of  Brazil ;  every- 
where, through  the  streets  of  the  lower  town,  there  are  cigar 
manufactories,  which  send  their  products  to  all  parts  of  the 
empire  ;  large  quantities  of  cigars,  also,  are  sent  to  Europe; 
and  it  is  said  that  not  a  few  find  their  way  to  the  United 
States,  where  they  are  sold  as  "pure  Havanas  "  or  "  Key 
West  cigars."  The  Bahia  tobacco  is  much  inferior  to  that  of 
Cuba.  Many  Brazilians  buy  imported  cigars,  and  there  is  a 
steady  trade  in  this  product,  between  Rio  and  the  West 

Bahia  was  the  first  capital  of  Brazil,  and,  until  the  coffee- 
trade  sprang  up,  it  shared  the  commercial  supremacy  with 



Rio.  Even  now,  it  is  the  second  city  of  the  empire,  both  in 
size  and  importance  ;  and  with  its  fine  harbor,  it  may  yet 
regain  what  it  has  lost.  But  its  people  are  far  inferior  to 
those  of  Pernambuco ;  a  large  proportion  of  the  population 
consists  of  negroes,  slaves  or  free,  and  always  ignorant  and 
lazy  ;  the  whites,  too,  are  less  frank  and  manly,  more  like 
their  cousins  of  Rio  and  Sao  Paulo.  So  I  look  for  a  stronger 
and  more  healthy  growth  in  Pernambuco  than  in  Bahia,  not- 
withstanding the  great  natural  advantages  of  the  latter. 

From  Bahia  to  Rio  de  Janeiro,  the  hills  increase  in  height 
constantly,  until  they  are  merged  into  the  rugged  mountains 

Victoria  Harbor. 

of  the  Coast-Range.  Now  there  are  strange  peaks,  and  nee- 
dles, and  rock-masses  rising  straight  up  from  the  sea,  a  grand 
panorama.  We  do  not  always  run  near  the  shore,  for  there 
are  dangerous  reefs  in  this  region,  and  much  caution  is  re- 
quired in  passing  them.  The  coasting  steamers  touch  at 
three  or  four  points ;  the  last  station  north  of  Rio  is  Victoria, 
a  queer  little  rock-bound  harbor,  so  narrow  that  our  ship, 
swinging  around  with  the  tide,  almost  cuts  it  in  two. 

So  at  length  we  steam  down  from  Cape  Frio  to  the  sugar- 
loaf,  and  pass  into  the  magnificent  bay  of  Rio  de  Janeiro. 



THERE  is  nothing  more  difficult  in  authorship,  than  for 
a  writer  of  one  nation  to  judge  fairly  of  the  people  of 
another.  He  must  not  measure  them  by  his  own  experi- 
ence ;  he  may  have  been  well  or  ill-treated,  as  he  has  en- 
countered good  or  bad  individuals,  or  as  circumstances  have 
placed  him  in  a  favorable  or  unfavorable  light  with  those 
whom  he  has  met.  He  must  not  judge  by  customs;  what  is 
distasteful  to  him  may  be  entirely  right  in  the  eyes  of  an- 
other man.  Finally,  he  must  not  judge  of  a  great  nation  by 
a  single  city  or  community,  for  people  who  speak  the  same 
language  and  obey  the  same  laws  may  be  entirely  opposed 
in  character. 

Heretofore,  our  wanderings  have  generally  been  in  the 
backwoods  of  Brazil,  where  we  met  with  simple-hearted 
country-people,  whose  goodness  was  rather  negative  than 
active.  In  Ceara  and  at  Pernambuco  we  encountered  a 
class  of  Brazilians  who  were  above  the  average  of  their 
countrymen.  In  studying  the  people  of  Rio  de  Janeiro, 
we  shall  find  a  great  many  unpleasant  traits  of  character, 
and  some  very  good  ones.  Now,  if  I  appear  contradictory, 
let  it  be  remembered  that  I  am  trying  to  view  the  Brazilian 
character  from  all  sides  ;  to  judge  fairly  by  the  whole,  and 



not  by  particular  or  individual  traits.  Sometimes  the  moun- 
tains back  of  Rio  de  Janeiro  are  covered  with  clouds  around 
their  base,  while  single  peaks  above  glow  like  diamonds  in 
the  sunshine.  I  could  not  judge  of  the  mountains  by  the 
gilded  peaks,  nor  yet  by  the  dark  clouds,  for  in  either  case 
I  might  be  entirely  wrong  ;  I  must  climb  the  peaks  to  see 
that  they  are  formed  of  rocks,  and  not  of  sunshine  alone  ;   I 

Tijuca,   from  the   Bay. 

must  go  into  the  mist,  though  it  be  dark  and  drizzling  there, 
to  find  the  beauties  that  underlie  it. 

The  metaphor  is  good  for  nothing  of  a  bright  morning, 
when  one  crosses  the  bay  from  Sao  Domingos  and  sees  the 
•city  lying  there  in  the  sunshine.  For  Rio  is  a  picturesque 
place  ;  it  must  be  so  from  its  surroundings  ;  even  the  odd 
jumble  of  ancient  and  modern  buildings  seems  to  have  a  cer- 
tain fitness  under  the  other  odd  jumble  of  crooked  moun- 
tains. Within  the  city  limits,  there  are  lesser  hills  and  rocks  ; 
some  of  them  have  convents  or  churches  on  them,  and  irreg- 



ular  clusters  of  houses.      Back   on  the   mountain-sides,  the 
streets  cHmb  as  far  as  they  can,  and  end  nowhere. 

The  Httle  ferry-boat  lands  us  in  our  city  of  metaphorical 
fog  and  actual  sunshine  ;  sunshine  a  trifle  too  warm,  even  at 

this  early  hour;  but _^ ^^^^^ 

you  must  expect  all 
sorts  of  weather  at 
Rio.  So  we  put  up 
our  umbrellas,  and 
walk  over  to  the 
Riia  Prinieiro  de 

There  is  nothing 
essentially  tropical 
about  this  part  of  ^B| 
the  city,  unless  it  ^a' 
be  the  tile-roofs,  and 
the  hintings  of  early  ^M 
Portuguese  -  Brazil- 
ian  architecture. 
That  square  edifice, 
on  our  left,  is  the 
department  of  Agri- 
culture and  Public 
Works  ;  it  is  one  oi  the  few  Government  buildings  that  show 
something  like  artistic  taste.  Brazilian  architecture,  just 
now,  is  in  a  transition  state,  characterized  by  nothing  but 
tawdriness,   and  a  poor  attempt    to    imitate  the  French.      I 

*  Formerly  the  Rua  Direita.  The  Government  has  shown  its  taste  by  aboUshing 
the  old  and  well-established  names,  and  substituting  new  ones,  founded  on  national 
history,  and  supposed  to  fill  the  soul  with  patriotic  emotions ;  as  if  we  should  call 
Broadway  "  Fourth  of  July  street,"  or  the  Bowery  "  Avenue  of  the  Battle  of  Bunker 
Hill."     But  the  people  rebel,  and  stick  to  the  old  names. 

Rua   Primeiro   de   Marco. 

454  BRAZIL. 

like  better  the  old  buildings,  which  are  plain  enough,  but 
have  a  character  of  their  own. 

On  the  street-corners,  there  are  gayly-painted  and  deco- 
rated, pagoda-like  buildings — kiosqiies,  they  are  called  here. 
Groups  o